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Lifeguard a life-saver

Photo by Mary Guck Adrienne Nelson, 19, sits on the lifeguard stand at Spirit Lake Beach, in Menahga, on the afternoon of July 28, four days after rescuing a drowning young girl.

Around 6:05 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, Adrienne Nelson, a lifeguard at Spirit Lake Beach in Menahga, had just sat down when she noticed flailing arms and a child sputtering in the water.

"I was scared. I couldn't tell exactly if she was just floating and messing around, I just couldn't quite determine," Nelson said. "Her arms were moving, but then I knew she was just too little."

Nelson ran out into the knee-deep water and carried the 4-year-old girl to shore.

"She was blue in the face and obviously choking, so I started [chest] compressions," Nelson said.

Nelson said the girl had water in her lungs, and she just needed to spit it up. She remembered her training instantly and knew what to do.

"I didn't even have to think about it. It just came to me," Nelson said.

According to Nelson, lifeguards must renew their training every two years and CPR training every year.

Nelson said the girl started to spit up water and food and continued spitting up while she was doing compressions. Nelson performed compressions for roughly a minute.

"Then she started crying and she was fine," Nelson said.

By the time the young girl was alert, the emergency responders were there to take over.

Adrienne's sister, Whitney, a fellow lifeguard, said she had looked at the 4-year-old moments before the incident and she wasn't in the water. Seconds later Whitney looked again and the young girl was under. Adrienne acted very quickly, she said.

After lifeguarding for five years, this was the first time Nelson had to save someone from the water. Nelson has guarded Spirit Lake Beach for three years.