Walton City Council presented Lauren Leming with a key to the city during its meeting Tuesday evening.
Mayor Gabe Brown recognized Leming for saving a young girl from being hit by a truck at Walton’s Old Fashion Day parade on Saturday, Sept. 9.
“Right place, right time,” said Brown. “Certainly, if I had a higher honor to give her than the key to the city, I would do so.”
The heroic act took place when the girl stepped onto the Main Street parade route to pick up a piece of candy that was thrown into the road, right in front of the wheel of a dump truck.
Leming, who said that she pushed her husband out of the way to get to the girl, pulled her out of harm’s way at the last moment – the wheel had just made contact with the heel of her foot.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank God,” said Leming. “Had it not been for him, I may not have been able to be there to save my friend’s daughter.”
The entire incident took place in seconds.
As a result, city council said they are now considering making changes to future parades, including prohibiting large vehicles from tossing out candy and forbidding candy altogether at the nighttime Christmas on Main parade.
“Things like that, they weigh on you,” said Brown. “[I’d be] okay if the day had been crappy because it rained or nobody showed up, but to have some kind of tragedy would have been something you live with as a mayor … To me, she kept us from having to feel that burden.”
According to Leming, the little girl is okay and enjoyed the rest of the weekend’s festivities without incident. She also asked that everyone keep the girl’s family in their prayers.
“It could have happened to any of us, to any of our children,” said Leming. “She had no idea what was around her. And by the grace of God, I was able just to be there.”