Ava Donegan never set out to be a hero.
Back on Oct. 1, she and her boyfriend were in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, for some shopping, according to KMBC-TV.
Then came the gunfire. Then came the wounded police officer. Then came the moment the training her father instilled in her kicked in.
For her actions that day, the 17-year-old was honored Thursday by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
You can tell by the look of astonishment on her face at the standing ovation she received how humble local hero and teenager Ava Donegan is. She was recognized tonight by @SheriffClayCo for helping save an Excelsior Springs’ officer’s life after he was shot twice. Way to go Ava! pic.twitter.com/v191OLOLNH
— myCTAmanda (@myCTAmanda1) November 18, 2022
Unknown to her, as she was driving that day, two officers of the Excelsior Springs Police Department were trying to detain a suspect who fired upon them, striking Officer Adam Stott in the wrist and arm, according to the Courier-Tribune.
“Officer (Andrew) Stott ran to the vehicle Ava was in after he got shot. She could see he needed help. He had been shot in the right arm and in the left hand. Officer Stott pointed to where his tourniquet was outside his vest. Ava helped to retrieve it and put it on his wounded right arm,” Sheriff’s Office Public Relations Manager Sarah Boyd said at the ceremony as she summed up the incident.
“Because of his injuries, he could not use his radio so Ava pressed his radio button so he could tell dispatch what happened. Finally, she helped him take off his outer vest so he could receive medical treatment,” Boyd said.
Donegan had said her father, David Donegan, instructed her in first aid.
“As soon as I saw the officer needed help, the fear melted away.”
Sitting in her car, teen Ava Donegan used quick thinking to apply a tourniquet to a bleeding officer in Missouri. Ava joined “Morning in America” for a NewsNation exclusive.
— NewsNation (@NewsNation) October 7, 2022
“It was instantly like a lightbulb. I remember sitting on the couch multiple times and he goes over a tourniquet and how important it is,” according to KMBC-TV.
“So, when the officer said, ‘Can you help me with my tourniquet?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely, I can help you with your tourniquet.’ It was really useful to have that knowledge from my dad,” she said.
“Ava also assisted the sheriff’s office in their investigation, providing information about what she witnessed,” Boyd said at the ceremony, according to Courier-Tribune.
She was awarded the first-commissioned sheriff’s office challenge coin by Sheriff Will Akin, a challenge coin by Excelsior Springs Police Chief Greg Dull, and a $2,000 scholarship by Chuck Anderson Ford.
In a letter read at the ceremony, Mike Anderson of Chuck Anderson’s Excelsior Springs Ford dealership called the teen’s actions “incredible.”
“I can only imagine how proud your family is. You don’t see citizens these days take the chance in life to make a difference. I have never met the officer you helped, but I can assure you, if he was my son, I would be so thankful you were there on that horrible day to help him,” he wrote.
“You will always be known to be a brave young woman who made a difference,” Excelsior Springs Mayor Sharon Powell said, reading a letter from the dealership, according to KMBC-TV.
“I still think anyone would have done it,” Donegan said Thursday. “But I’m very grateful to be here.”
“Everything I received I am extremely grateful for, especially the kind words,” she posted on her Instagram account.
“I urge everyone to purchase a tourniquet or first aid kit or at least educate yourselves on first aid. ‘It’s not going to happen to me’– until it does. Moreover, there is a GoFundMe in my bio to support the officer and his family,” she wrote.
Seventeen year old girl helps put tourniquet on Excelsior Springs Police Officer after shooting
“Somehow, I blinked my eye and the cop who was shot was right in front of my car,” Ava Donegan said. https://t.co/DsTHviNDvs
— Mental Ammo (@MentalAmmo) October 3, 2022
The GoFundMe page said Stott, who was married just before being shot, “is currently doing well after an arterial repair to his right shoulder and has had one surgery on his left hand with a second surgery on his hand (Oct. 6).”
Donegan said her current plans are to become a physical therapist.
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