7-Year-Old ‘Hero' Honored in Mansfield

Hero is a big title for a little girl, but nurses with Methodist Mansfield say 7-year-old Berkley Donahue earned it.

Friday afternoon she was honored with the hospital's first ever "Community Hero Award" at Willie Brown Elementary School. Back in September, she was at a pool party when a toddler fell in unnoticed. She saw him in the water and jumped into action.

"She swam down. She saw that there was a baby, she had grabbed him, came back up. She yelled again for a parent and I heard her, I recognized her voice," said Bonnie Donahue, Berkley's mother.

"I saw that he was under water and I touched his arm and I didn't see him moving so I grabbed his arm," the first-grader said.

It's a story that could have had a tragic ending, because Tarrant County leads Texas in childhood drownings. There have been at last 12 juvenile drowning deaths so far this year. Nurse Anna Marie Slayton knows the pain first-hand. She lost her 2-year-old son Gavin that way on New Year's Day last year.

"He had a different spirit. He brought joy, he brought love and he was never old enough to not be that way. He was just perfect," she said.

Since then, Slayton has helped spearhead a "Drowning Prevention Awareness Initiative" with Methodist Mansfield. The Hospital's new outreach program teaches kids about Josh the Otter and praising those with the courage to act.

"Any kid who steps up in bravery is a huge deal, so this is a big deal," Slayton said.

Berkley's mom couldn't be prouder.

"Oh my gosh, she's an angel. She knows she's an angel, but after today we know it's a fact. She's pretty special," Donahue said.

To learn more about water safety, visit The National Drowning Prevention Alliance

Contact Us