Bloomer teen hailed a hometown hero

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:08 PM CST
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BLOOMER. (WEAU)- A Western Wisconsin teen is being hailed a hero for her actions that saved a life. She was previously honored by her community and now she’s being recognized by the state of Wisconsin as a hometown hero.

Last year on January 31st, now 14-year-old Alena Otto was playing with friends on a frozen-over Gull Lake in Washburn County.

At first, Otto thought her friend just fell down, but quickly realized he was in danger and sprung into action.

“Once I realized that he fell through the ice I army crawled over to him and I pulled him out and Garrett went and got his dad and his dad came down and helped Gavin out the rest of the way and carried him to his car,” Otto said.

For her quick thinking, Otto was presented with the Hometown Hero award during Tuesday’s state assembly meeting in Madison.

“It’s just truly an honor, I’m humbled to be able to have her come here,” Representative Rob Summerfield said. “I’m glad to be able to spread her story to the whole state of Wisconsin and have the assembly honor her for her courageous actions.”

When asked how she knew what to do, Otto says she once read it in a book.

“When the Ice, when someone falls through if you just run up there, you’re likely to fall through too,” Otto said. “So, when you army crawl, you like, distribute your weight more.”

Summerfield says even though Otto is young, not many would be as quick on their feet in the same situation.

“I think that really says a lot about her character, her drive, and her courageousness on this, around this situation, where she knew she had to do something, and she jumped and took action and saved a life,” Summerfield said.

Saving a life wasn’t something Otto thought she’d be awarded for.

“It’s something that’s kind of scary to think about, but it’s also good to keep in mind because it makes you more aware that, you know, anything like that can happen at any time,” Otto said.

Otto says she just did what she thought was right.

“I just knew that he had fallen through, and I needed to get him out,” Otto said.

Otto is also in the Girl Scouts and was presented the lifesaving bronze cross award for actions last year. Also last year, she was also presented with the national youth hero award by the American Legion.

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