Heroic Teen Girl Who Died Saving Little Brother's Life Would Make Any Mom Proud

sun breaking through clouds, heavenOut of so many tragedies involving children come stories of unfathomable heroism and inspiration, and teen Madison Leigh Wallace's devastating drowning is no exception.

The 16-year-old's body was found Friday in an icy river in South Dakota's Falls Park, after she'd jumped in Thursday night to save her 6-year-old brother Garrett. Police think Garrett either slipped on rocks and fell in or was covered in the bubbling water's rising foam, which reached 10 feet high. The little boy lived because Madison -- and another man passing by who also leaped in to help -- saved him.

As wracked by grief and shock as Madison and Garrett's parents must be, they also are probably overcome with love -- and yes, pride -- that their daughter died doing something so noble for their son. Wouldn't you be?

What happened to Madison is one of every mom's (and dad's) darkest nightmares. The death of your own child is the worst loss any parent could ever experience. But losing one of your kids because she was saving her sibling's life? I can only imagine the array of emotions that mother must be feeling. Overwhelming sadness mixed with overwhelming gratitude. Love, emptiness, pride, shock, horror. Anger at the whole situation. And of course immeasurable pain over the death of her daughter tinged with joy over her son's survival.

Madison, the oldest of Jay and Lara Wallace's six kids, died when she was only a teenager with her whole life ahead of her. But Madison Wallace died a heroine, a brave sister who loved her baby brother so much that she gave her life for his. And the 28-year-old stranger, Lyle Eagletail, who jumped in to help both children and who was also swept away, died a hero too.

If Madison were my own daughter, my heart would be full of every emotion in the book right now. But through the terrible grief and loss, I would be so proud of my little girl for doing what she did for my son. I hope that one day, those poor parents will be able to focus on that pride and love, and feel inspired by and in awe of the selfless young woman their daughter Madison was growing into. Maybe that will carry them through this tragedy and the lonely times ahead to a place of peace. I can only pray that it does.

Do you have any words of comfort for Madison and Garrett's family?


Image via jacjac.dk/Flickr

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amnew... amnewlon8982

This story makes me sad and proud at the same time. Sad for the loss of a young life yet to be lived and proud we still have young people out there willing to put it all on the line for their siblings. No doubt my girls who are six yrs apartay bicker bit the oldest would do anything to ensure her two yr old sisters safety.

Rebec... Rebecca7708

I really hope they get some really good therapeutic counseling for the little boy. I can only imagine the survivors guilt he may experience some day. My prayers go out to the family.

Trenia Rexinger

You're forgetting the stranger that jumped in to help rescue the little boy who also lost his life.

nonmember avatar Katy

I'm confused. If both the rescurers were swept away, who pulled the little boy from the river? I would be incredibly proud of my daughter in this situation and thankful to the stranger who also risked and ultimately gave his life to save my son. I agree that the little boy will need much therapy to understand any feelings of guilt and loss.

nonmember avatar Tara

i live by Sioux Falls, SD where Falls Park is located. no one actually pulled him out - he eventually made it to the other side to the rocks a ways down the falls where he was found safe...his sister jumped after him immediately after he slipped as did the other gentleman who lost his life as well. such a sad story all around. the man was 28 and had a child of his own, with one on the way. God Bless the sister and Lyle Eagle Tail (the other man who jumped in) - they are truly heroes...

Lin Wessels

To the loved ones of Madison Wallace: Please never forget what a special girl your Madison was. She knew she was loved as she knew how to love, selfishly, just as our Lord has directed for us to do. She may not have always had the words readily available to tell you all of those things you wonder about, she did not need to. Her actions have spoken loudly and clearly. She knew the true meaning of loving. She is not only a hero for her selflessness, but an inspiration and shining example of how our Lord would have us live, for others. Blessed be her memory.

Lin Wessels

To the loved ones of Madison Wallace: Please never forget what a special girl your Madison was. She knew she was loved as she knew how to love, selflessly, just as our Lord has directed for us to do. She may not have always had the words readily available to tell you all of those things you wonder about, she did not need to. Her actions have spoken loudly and clearly. She knew the true meaning of loving. She is not only a hero for her selflessness, but an inspiration and shining example of how our Lord would have us live, for others, without hesitation. Blessed be her memory.

rccol... rccola1945

  The world, we live in today, can be very dangerous, & so loving, at the same time. Each person born has, a destiny! All of us, feel for, both, families, & at the same time, I believe, both people who died that day, that God, planed every little, detail. I know, some of you will think I'm a non,caring, person, but I'm not. I have seen, my loved ones, suffer, through long drawn out, incurable dieases, for long periods, of time. Which is a better, slow, or quick? To both families, all of our prayers, go out for you, in your, losses. Your daughter was filled, with love, for her little brother, enough to die for him. How lucky you were, to have had her, for 16 yrs. You brought your children up, with love & understanding, of life. God Bless, & keep you in his, mighty hands. This time, to shall, pass.

nonmember avatar Veronica

What incredible love from a big sister and a complete stranger! God has a plan for each of us,may God who loves us so much comfort the family and embrace them with his love.

nonmember avatar Christi Brace

God bless your family. We are so sorry for your loss of your wonderful daughter and the young man that helped to save your son. You must be great parents to have raised such a selfless child. May God bring you comfort

The Brace Family

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