Woman awarded for risking life to save others

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 08/29 2014 10:34AM

Updated 08/29 2014 10:38AM

DOUGLAS COUNTY -- An area woman rushed in to save two people, not thinking about her own safety. Now, she's being honored in a big way. WCIA-3's Lindsey Gordon finds out how she single-handedly pulled two men from a burning vehicle.

Her act of bravery saved their lives. Thursday night, she was honored with an International Medal of Heroism.

"It goes to somebody who puts their life at risk to save others."

That person is Andrea Bratten. She's one of only a handful of people in the world who get this honor each year. The Tuscola Kiwanis Club presented the surprise to her.

"Nervous, humbled and grateful."

But, she wasn't nervous last spring in the face of danger.

"She ignored her natural instinct and, because of her actions on March 29, two people are alive."

The waitress from Villa Grove witnessed a crash here in rural Tuscola. Without thinking, she pulled over and sprang into action.

"The fire department got there incredibly fast, within four minutes. And by the time the fire department got there, the car was fully engulfed. So, if it wasn't for her efforts, two people would have perished."

Once those people were safe, she calmed a man in the second car who had broken his leg. Bratten says she was doing what she knew she had to. She will never forget that day.

"It changes who you are inside, as a person."

The Kiwanis Club will donate $500 to the charity of Bratten's choice. She says she will need time to decide where it will go, but she promises it will be a good one.

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