ESCAMBIA COUNTY, FL. (WKRG) — Dozens packed the conference room Thursday for the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department quarterly awards and promotion ceremony.
One by one, names of many brave deputies were called to the podium to be presented with a medal and honored for their dedication to public safety.
In the corner of the room sat a much smaller hero. She doesn’t wear a badge, but the department believes 10-year-old Morgan Boutwell has just as much bravery.
Her hero story all started one regular sunny afternoon.
“It was a hot summer day,” Boutwell said. “We were swimming in the pool, and all my brothers and sisters and my cousins were over, and [at some point] my aunt and my grandmother had to go deal with my younger cousin, Paisley.”
Morgan didn’t think twice about the adults turning their backs for a few seconds.
“Brian was the only one in the pool with me, and he had on a life jacket,” Boutwell said.
But sometimes that’s all it takes — just a few seconds.
“I was just swimming around the pool, but when I turned back he had no life jacket on.”
Her little cousin Brian, just two years old at the time, drowning right before her eyes.
“He was floating, underground water and all you could see was his hair floating,” Boutwell said.
Morgan didn’t hesitate to save him.
Quickly, she began trying to lift the toddler from the water all while, screaming for help.
Her aunt couldn’t be more thankful and impressed with her niece’s instincts.
“She acted in such a mature manner,” said Mary Burgette, Morgan’s aunt and Brian’s mother. “She was so calm she just went through the steps, like she had done it before.
“She knew exactly what to do.”
For those life-saving instincts, Sheriff David Morgan honored her today with the civilian service award along with a congressional award from Congressman Matt Gatez.
It’s an honor she says she will never forget, but says saving her cousin’s life is more important than any award.
“I kept repeating to myself, ‘Did I make it in time, did I make it in time?’” Boutwell said. “When he was finally okay, I realized I did it, and I was really proud because I love him so much, and I don’t want him dead or to go away.”