Nutley Girl Scout receives award for saving her mother’s life

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NUTLEY, NJ — Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey has honored Marley Madureira, 13, with the Medal of Honor, a Lifesaving Award given by Girl Scouts of the United States of America, for saving her mother’s life. 

The Medal of Honor is given to a Girl Scout who has saved or attempted to save a human life under heroic circumstances without risk to her own life. 

In January 2020, Marley’s mom, Peggy Madureira, began choking at their family home in Nutley. She was taking medication for a sinus infection and the pill became lodged in her throat. Not being able to breathe and unable to communicate, she began banging on the kitchen sink for help.

Being a Girl Scout, Marley remained calm and immediately began the Heimlich maneuver, a first-aid procedure used to treat upper airway obstructions. 

Marley’s dad heard the commotion and ran down the stairs. By the time he arrived, Marley had been able to dislodge the pill, saving her mother’s life. Shortly thereafter, Peggy Madureira was able to breathe and speak.

Peggy Madureira has been Marley’s troop leader since she was in kindergarten. 

“I cannot stress enough the importance of learning first aid and lifesaving skills,” Peggy Madureira said. “As a Girl Scout leader, we have a meeting each year to practice lifesaving skills. I am so proud of the way Marley handled the situation; she remained calm and acted responsibly. I am thankful that she was able to use the skills she was taught to save my life, and I am forever grateful.”

This summer, the national organization notified GSHNJ that Marley was to be honored. GSHNJ decided that Marley’s prestigious award should be presented at Town Hall in Nutley. Due to COVID-19, a small ceremony was held there.

Natasha Hemmings, CEO of GSHNJ, presented Marley with an award letter and pin from GSUSA. 

“Marley is a young woman of character and integrity, who lives by the Girl Scout Law and Promise,” Hemmings said, with a huge smile. “She called upon her experience as a Girl Scout to save her mother’s life. It is an inspiring story for all of us.” 

Nutley Mayor Mauro Tucci was happy to attend the ceremony. 

“I am so proud of Marley; she is an amazing young lady, who demonstrated great leadership skills,” Tucci said. “We live in a wonderful town, with great resources and a caring community, and we are happy to be here to honor one of our young heroes.”

Standing next to her mother, Marley said quietly: “I am just happy that I had the skills needed to save my mother’s life.”

“I am so grateful to my daughter and the way she conducted herself,” Peggy Madureira said. “She immediately became the adult in the situation. As a result of her quick response, I am here today to celebrate her and thank her in front of all of you.”

Photos Courtesy of GSHNJ