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Karen Kauffman Honored For Heroic Act

August 23, 2011
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

"The Governor of the State of Iowa presents this Certificate of Lifesaving to Karen Kauffman for her actions on April 4, 2009, in recognition of saving the life of another individual. Karen's selfless actions in providing CPR to Katelynn Huebsch after she went under water and was unable to resurface are worthy of this commendation."

It was an emotional day on April 4, 2009, and it was an emotional day last week when Karen Kauffman of Emmetsburg received an award for her heroic act at the Iowa State Fair.

"I never thought I'd have to do that (CPR) on someone I knew, in an uncontrolled situation," Karen reflected.

Article Photos

CERTIFICATE OF LIFESAVING -- Karen Kauffman of Emmetsburg received a “Certificate of Lifesaving” for saving the life of another. The award was made last week at the Iowa State Fair. Pictured?(from the left) are Col. Patrick J. Hoye, Iowa State Patrol; Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds; and Karen Kauffman receiving her award from Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad.--submitted photo

Karen's instincts as a nurse, certified in infant, child and adult CPR, just took over.

The Kauffmans were enjoying a family reunion at a Coralville motel and everyone was enjoying time in the swimming pool. Karen's five-year-old granddaughter, Mackenzie, was playing in the pool with four-year-old Katelynn, a geat niece. When Mackenzie went to the hot tub, someone asked, "Where's Katelynn?"

Amy Kauffman (married to Karen and Gary's son, Scott) saw Katelynn at the bottom of the pool. She jumped in, pulled the little girl from the water and handed her to Karen. Immediately Karen called out "Call 911" then began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

She was so focused on what she was doing, Karen was unaware of what else was happening around her.

"Water came out of her and her eyes started looking at me," Karen remembers. "After she had coughed up all of the water, I felt a hand on my shoulder and a man said, 'Maam, we're here'."

The ambulance and staff had arrived on the scene.

Later, at the hospital, little Katelynn was asked what she remembered. "I?remember a lady in my face," she replied.

Reflecting on the situation, Karen recalled hearing one child crying, and it sounded familiar. The child was her granddaughter, Mackenzie.

She also remembered "praying like crazy...Please, God, let her be okay."

Others were involved in this life saving effort as well, and were recognized at the State Fair.

"Certificate of Lifesaving" was presented to Amy Kauffman of Grimes; Juanita Gensley-Bader of Iowa City; and to Morgan Parthemore.

Even young Katelynn was at the award ceremony at the fair. When she was asked if she remembered Karen, Katelynn replied, "That's the day I drowned."

Two years have passed and Katelynn is now in first grade. She has had swimming lessons and swims in the deep end of the pool.

"It was really emotional, re-living that situation again," admitted Karen.?"But we had a lot of fun hanging out with Katelynn and her mom and dad at the State Fair. I'm just so grateful that everything came out all right."

"Certifiate of Lifesaving" is the award given to those who saved the lives of others without apparent risk to their own life.

Karen Kauffman received her nursing degree at Mount Marty in Yankton, SD, then worked in Yankton before returning to Iowa. After working at nursing homes in Humboldt and Ruthven, she came to Palo Alto County Hospital where she worked in community health. Currently, Karen is Director of Hospice.



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