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Susquehanna Life

Geisinger’s Lydia Ross presented Pennsylvania House Citation for heroic act

May 22, 2015 02:43PM ● By Erica Shames

On Thursday, May 14, State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver presented Lydia Ross, BSN, RN, CCRN, team coordinator on the Hospital for Advanced Medicine sixth floor (HfAM 6), Geisinger Medical Center, a Pennsylvania House of Representatives Citation for helping to save a seven-year-old girl who appeared to be drowning in the Susquehanna River at Shikellamy State Park Marina in Sunbury in August 2013. The ceremony was held in the HfAM 6 lobby.

Ross had been running in the park when she thought she heard a cry for help coming from the river. She noticed a young girl sitting on the river side of the fence looking down into the water where she saw another girl, the first girl’s cousin, struggling to stay afloat in the water by the Lake Augusta Outfitters launch at the park. Ross immediately went around the fence to the water to try and save her.

But as she went down the cement ramp to help the young girl, she also lost her footing on the slick concrete and struggled to keep both of them afloat. While she was able to secure the girl to herself, Ross had trouble keeping them above the water until she grasped onto the dock support pipe and held on until a man with a deep voice helped pull them from the water. Ross went to the park headquarters to ask Interim Park Manager Phillip Schmidt to assist the little girl. The man who assisted in the rescue was gone when Schmidt arrived on the scene.

“Thank God that she [the girl] was safe and that we were OK,” Ross said. “The worst thing about this whole thing is that I never thanked the guy who pulled us out. He is my hero, but I have no idea who he is – he never came forward.”

The following week, Ross heard from the grandfather of the girl, who was named Mackenzie, that she was doing well.

Ross insists she just did what anyone would have done by responding to the cries for help, but Rep. Culver saw it differently.

“I think we all thought we would have done the same thing as you did, but in reality, I’m not sure how many people would have done what you actually did,” Rep. Culver said.

“Luckily for that young lady, you were there,” she continued. “I think what you did was react on human instinct, definitely courage, and there is no doubt what you did is absolutely amazing and two little girls are still here today because of you and your selfless act.”

Ross was joined at the ceremony by her husband, Perry, their five children, and other family members, friends and Geisinger co-workers.

“I think this (Ross’s heroic act) shows the human experience that Geisinger strives for, and that we in the Central Susquehanna Valley strive for,” said Rep. Culver, who then read the complete citation to Ross before presenting her with it.

About Geisinger Health System

Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As one of the nation’s largest rural health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 3 million residents throughout 48 counties in central, south-central and northeast Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of approximately 23,500 employees, including a 1,200-member multi-specialty group practice, nine hospital campuses, two research centers and a 467,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $7.7 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit, or follow the latest Geisinger news and more on Twitter and Facebook.

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