GREAT FALLS - Twelve-year-old Ashton Montgomery and his five-year-old sister Ely Montgomery are an example of how you are never too young to save a life.
Great Falls Emergency Services recently recognized the two kids after saving their great-grandmother's life.
The children were swimming with her on July 30, 2023. When Ashton realized that she was unconscious in the pool, he dragged her out of the pool to the edge, keeping her from drowning.
He then called on his younger sister, Ely to get their great-grandfather and call 911.
Their quick response got them an award that Great Falls Emergency Services said they rarely have the chance to give out.
"A lot of times, we're not aware of bystander actions that are done on a scene. If it's a CPR call, a lot of times we are. We'll often track those folks down, bring them in, recognize them and thank them for learning CPR. In this particular case, our physician medical director happened to be working at the E.R. at the time the patient came in. He heard the story of what had happened, sent me a text, telling me to check it out, as it's a pretty neat situation of two kids saving their great-grandmother's life. I contacted the great-grandmother, and she was very helpful and agreed that it would be appropriate to give those kids two thumbs up because they did a phenomenal job." - Great Falls Emergency Services manager Justin Grohs
Kathryn Ganger is the great-grandmother. She gave her thoughts on her great-grandkids being recognized for their heroic acts.
"I can't even tell you how proud I am of them," she said. "I've always been proud of them, but I did not realize just how much they were able to stay calm in a situation."
Ashton described his feelings when the situation occurred.
"I was pretty much just scared," he said. "At first, I was happy and fun, and then I just turned scared."
Terrified at the moment, Ashton said he was relieved to know that she was going to be okay.
With their actions recognized weeks later, Ashton said it's something that he will remember forever.
Grohs said he aims to provide these awards more often, making it a mission of GFES to recognize others for their life-saving efforts. He encourages those who know of anyone who saved a life, to reach out to GFES for a chance to be recognized.
"It's a nice thing to do, and it's the right thing to do," Grohs said. "We like to encourage folks to help out in cases like that because it does take responders a few minutes to get to any scene that is occurring. If there are bystanders that happen to be there to fill those few minutes, and there's things they can do that are helpful, we encourage those kinds of actions."