By Ali Houser
Distinguished Young Woman of South Dakota for 2012
How far would you go for a perfect stranger? It’s a compelling question when given the chance to think about it. However, when tragedy strikes, we don’t think. We just do. That is exactly what Madison Wallace and Lyle Eagle Tail did on the 14th of March. Together, they will be risen up as heroes.
I’m not sure how many of you have heard the tragic story so I will give some of the details. At around 6 p.m. on Thursday, a young boy fell into the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, SD. His sister, 16-year-old Madison jumped in to save him. Lyle, a 28-year old who was visiting the falls with his fiancé, saw the teen go under the current and without hesitation jumped in to save her and her brother. The young boy was saved by their efforts; however, heaven gained two angels that night. Because of the foam from the falls, rescuers were not able to find the two victims right away. Madison was found Friday afternoon and Lyle was found on Saturday.
It breaks my heart to think about such a tragedy but at the same time, it makes me thankful. I’m thankful to know that even though awful things happen everyday in our world, there are heroes like Madison and Lyle that would and did risk their lives for another. The Wallace family and Lyle had no connection whatsoever, just perfect strangers. It’s one thing to sacrifice your life for someone you love but it’s a whole other situation when it is for someone you don’t know. But that’s the beauty of an act of kindness and pure selflessness.
This tragedy will forever remind me to be thankful for the time with loved ones that I have. You never know when something could happen. Madison and Lyle will forever be heroes. For anyone interested, there are Facebook pages in memory of the victims: “Madison Wallace Family Fund” and “Rename Falls Park: Lyle Eagle Tail and Madison Wallace Memorial Falls Park.” Prayers and thoughts go out to the families and friends of these individuals.
Ali Houser is a college freshman at The University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota majoring in Dental Hygiene. Originally from Beresford, South Dakota, Ali was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of South Dakota for 2012. Learn more about Ali here!
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