An elementary school principal from New Hampshire has been credited with saving an student with autism in an nearby icy river. The student, 10-year-old Andrew Brown from Gonic School in Rochester, ran away from a teacher and through the woods after morning recess.
Both the teacher and the principal, Gwen Thodes, followed the boy through the woods and saw him run out and stop on a thin patch of ice. When he got scared and fell through, Thodes quickly came to the rescue. “The ice started to break so the first reaction was I needed to get him out of the water keep his head above water and get him back up the embankment,” said Rhodes.
After jumping in the frozen river, she was able to get to the boy and pull them both to safety using trees along the banks. “We were able to work our way to the edge and I used a tree to brace my foot that was kind of under the water and I pushed him upward and got him out of the water,” said Rhodes
Because the boy was only in the Cocheco River for a few minutes, he was only treated for exposure and some bruises. Although many are calling Principal Thodes a hero, she insists she was simply doing her job and in the right place at the right time.
“This is just something that was a circumstance and you did what you needed to do when the circumstance happened, but what we do every day is what makes people that work in schools heroes.”