Sisters honored as national youth heroes

Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 10:21 AM EDT
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWNY) - Three Fort Drum sisters have earned the American Legion National Youth Hero Award. It recognizes the courage they exhibited when their mother was suffering a miscarriage in 2019.

“We were just getting up for school, waking up each other, getting ready, and that’s when we checked on our mom to see if she was okay and that’s when we saw her in the bathroom. I was, like, ‘What’s going on?’ And she said, ‘Laila, Lauren, I need you two to get towels and call the police, call an ambulance,’” said Laila Norris, the oldest sister.

The girls’ mom, Shanna, didn’t want them to see the medical emergency, but at the time, their father was deployed to Afghanistan.

“They were the only thing, they were the only option,” said Shanna.

The girls say they were afraid and they didn’t fully understand what was happening. But they knew their mom needed them so they had to be brave.

“All I understood was that mom was hurt and the baby was probably hurt too. I didn’t understand what was happening, I just followed what Laila and Lauren said and tried to keep calm,” said Leah Norris, the third oldest sister.

Laila helped her mom clean up with towels while Lauren called first responders and their father. Leah cared for their youngest sister, London, who was only four at the time.

“They got the help their mom needed, they actually saved their mom’s life,” said Amy McEatheron, Department of New York Auxiliary Leadership chair.

“We were scared because we didn’t know what to do, but then we thought about everything dad taught us to do. So we put our heads together and did everything our dad taught us to do and helped our mom,” said Laila.

“I’m proud of them, as a father, to know that they stood up in my place. We can rely on them like they rely on us. We’re just very proud of them and we’re blessed to have them as daughters,” said Staff Sgt. Leon Norris, the girls’ father.

The girls say finding courage when we are most afraid is a life lesson everyone can learn from.

“Don’t think of the bad side of things, it just clouds the brain. I say, think of the positives, like, okay, if we do this, it will be the best for them,” said Lauren Norris, second oldest sister.

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