Sen. Anthony Cannella Honors 12-Year-Old Merced Resident Nicole Kissel for Helping Save Drowning Boy

Cannella Presents Resolution on Senate Floor in Recognition of Kissel’s Heroism
Thursday, September 1, 2011

State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today presented a resolution on the Senate floor honoring 12-year-old Nicole Kissel, a Merced resident who saved Charles “Dale” Ostrander from drowning while swimming in the waters off the Long Beach peninsula in Washington State on August 5.

“Nicole Kissel may only be 12 years old, but she is a true hometown hero,” said Cannella. “Her brave and selfless act to save the life of a fellow youth deserves the highest commendation and our community’s sincerest appreciation.”

Last month, while on a trip to visit her father, Kissel was swimming in the choppy waters off the Long Beach peninsula in Washington State. She heard cries for help from 12-year-old Ostrander, who had gotten caught in a riptide while swimming with members of his church youth group. Without hesitation and despite warnings from her father, Kissel swam to Ostrander and pulled him onto her boogie board. A wave knocked them off the board, and Kissel tried twice to push Ostrander to the surface before they were separated.

Rescue teams later arrived on scene and found Ostrander floating two feet below the surface of the water. Ostrander was rushed to a local hospital, then flown to Oregon Health and Science University’s Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. On August 24, he was discharged from Doernbecher Children's Hospital and transferred to a hospital near his home in Spanaway, Washington. Despite spending about 15 minutes underwater, Ostrander survived the ordeal and is on the road to recovery.

“My family has always taught me to help other people, and I’m just glad that I was able to help somebody who was in trouble,” Kissel said. “It’s something anybody would do – I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time.”

Kissel is currently a sixth-grade student at Cruickshank Middle School in Merced.