When six-year-old Kallie Helton heard that there was an elderly man missing near her location in Ramona, CA, she leaped into action, determined to save him.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department was searching for a missing 71-year-old man by the name of Tom Ashton. Tom suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and was in grave danger in the summer heat, as he was missing in the hills of Ramona for more than five hours.
“We had a drone in the area and our drone was right over where he was and we could not see him because of the thick brush,” says division leader Ernie Cowan.
The sheriff’s department also had a helicopter in the area, and pilot Tim Johnson was hovering almost directly over the missing man, but he was unable to see anything due to the vegetation.
According to Kallie’s parents, Kallie was visiting her grandmother at the time that she heard about the missing man. She immediately realized the situation was not a game and began calling the man’s name as she explored the nearby hills with her aunt.
“She is stubborn, she is persistent,” says Kallie’s mother.
Lo and behold, Kallie was right to be persistent. She eventually found the man after he responded to her calls.
“She got right up and got the binoculars out and was yelling his name, and she was determined to find him that day,” says Kallie’s aunt, Kiki Bayisa. “His hat had flown off, his shoe was lost, he was very weak, and so Kallie got him some water.”
“I just hear like him moaning and he sounded pretty weak,” recalls Kallie.
Kallie and her aunt called 911, and the elderly man was taken in for treatment due to dehydration and exposure. He is expected to recover well.
“In my opinion, she undoubtedly played a pivotal role in saving his life,” said Lt. Michael McNeil. “Quite frankly, she did something that I am not confident most people, most adults, would do. She stepped up that day. This is one of the best stories that I can recall.”
“This is probably the first time a girl that age has been that instrumental in locating somebody,” says Johnson.
After the fact, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department awarded Kallie a “Medal of Distinguished Service” for her heroic actions. Kallie got to meet several search-and-rescue volunteers on horseback and take a tour of the ASTREA helicopter that was used to look for Tom Ashton.
The entire community is proud of Kallie, who has become a true hero, thanks to her determination and willingness to help out a fellow human in any way she could.
“It doesn’t get any better than that. We’ve got a place for her in SAR when she wants to join,” says Cowan.
Kallie says she’s proud of her latest achievement and feels “pretty good” about it. She hopes to become a doctor or a teacher when she grows up, but law enforcement may be on the list too now, thanks to her recent experience.
Way to go, Kallie! Our world needs more people like you! Thank you for taking the time to help out another person in need!Whizzco