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Steamboat Springs Girl Scout named 2017 Citizen Honors Award winner


Katelyn Ibarra, a 16-year-old Girl Scout from Steamboat Springs who helped save lives after a city bus crashed, has been named a 2017 Citizen Honors Award winner by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Katelyn, along with five other heroes, will be recognized at a ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va., on National Medal of Honor Day, Saturday, March 25, 2017.

On March 29, 2016, Katelyn and her family were on their way to eat dinner when they came upon a city bus that had crashed on U.S. Highway 40 near CR 44. The roads were very slick and icy from a snowstorm earlier in the day. As soon as Katelyn saw the crash, she knew she had to help. After climbing up a slippery, muddy slope to reach the front of the bus, Katelyn climbed through the broken windshield and into the bus. Without hesitation, she helped the bus driver and numerous passengers, many of whom were in shock, bleeding, or had other serious injuries.

“The Citizen Honors Awards recognize and celebrate the exceptional deeds that America’s citizen heroes perform every day in communities across our nation,” said Thomas G. Kelley, Medal of Honor Recipient and president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “Our 2017 winners embody the spirit of the Medal of Honor and represent the highest levels of service and heroism. They’ve earned this award through their courage, selfless service or commitment to our nation’s military service members and families.”

In September of 2016, Girl Scouts of the USA awarded Katelyn the prestigious Medal of Honor for “saving life or attempting to save life without risk to the candidate’s own life.” Tracy Shelton, an Ibarra family friend, was among those on bus. “She (Katelyn) needed no direction or instruction. She immediately went over to one of the most severely hurt. The blood didn’t faze her. She showed no shock. She was just this ‘strength’ among us,” wrote Shelton in a letter to Girl Scouts of the USA. “She responded in a way that was clearly above her age. She showed such a high level of maturity. I know adults that would not have climbed into that bus, with people screaming and all the blood.”

For more information about the Citizen Honors Award or the Medal of Honor and its recipients, visit the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation website at



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