Bagley Teen Posthumously Awarded Congressional Medal of Honor for Saving Drowning Cousins
March 26, 2021
An 18-year-old Bagley girl, Raina Neeland was recently awarded a posthumous Congressional Medal of Citizen Honors Award. Neeland passed away saving her three younger cousins from drowning in a Clearwater County Dam in August of 2020. She is a recipient of the Single Act of Heroism Award. Each year the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awards 5 individuals and one organization "who accomplish extraordinary feats of heroism by risking their lives for the benefit of others in a dire situation." Neeland is one of two recipients of the Single Act of Heroism Award this year.
Neeland was awarded "for her courageous act when she rescued three young cousins after they were swept over the Clearwater Dam at Clearwater Lake. She succumbed to the currents."
On Monday, August 17, 2020, at approximately 3:45 p.m., officers received a 911 call about a drowning near the Clearwater Dam on Clearwater Lake in northern Clearwater County. According to witnesses, 18-year-old Raina Lynn Neeland of rural Bagley had pulled a few younger children to safety before she went underwater. CPR was performed on Neeland by bystanders, but she was unresponsive. Witnesses told deputies that a group of children had been swimming in the river near the dam. Some of the children were caught up in turbulent water that was coming over the dam, and the children could not free themselves. When the first deputy arrived on the scene, an eight-year-old girl had been pulled from the water and was unresponsive. Bystanders at the scene had performed life-saving measures and were able to resuscitate the child.
A GoFundMe campaign was organized to help the family, according to that GoFundMe "Raina was loved by her family and friends. Raina loved cooking with her grandma also she loved helping take care of her siblings and cousins."