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The memorial setup for Amerie Jo Garza outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images.
The memorial setup for Amerie Jo Garza outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images.

Girl Scouts posthumously award Bronze Cross to Uvalde hero Amerie Jo Garza

The 10-year-old was one of 19 children killed in the tragedy at Robb Elementary. She tried calling 911 before being shot.

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On Tuesday, May 31, Girl Scouts of the USA posthumously awarded one of its highest honors to Amerie Jo Garza, the brave fourth grader who died trying to dial 911 during the Uvalde school shooting. 

The national organization, which serves 1.7 million girls and 750,000 adults, awarded Garza with the Bronze Cross, which is given to a Girl Scout who saves or attempts to save a life at the risk of her own life. 

“On May 24, 2022, Amerie did all she could to save the lives of her classmates and teachers. It was our honor as Amerie’s council to present the Bronze Cross to her family,” Girl Scouts of the USA said in a statement.

10-year-old Garza was killed when she attempted to use her phone to call for help for herself and her classmates. The gunman, Salvador Ramos, shot her before she could complete the call. 

Garza’s grandmother, Berlinda Irene Arreola told the Daily Beast that instead of just breaking the phone or taking it from her, the gunman shot her. 

“She was sitting right next to her best friend. Her best friend was covered in her blood,” she said.

Garza’s stepfather, a medical aide who was responding to the shooting, found out about his stepdaughter’s death when Garza’s best friend told him whose blood she was covered in. 

About an hour and a half before Ramos entered the school and killed Garza, 18 of her classmates and her two teachers, the proud Girl Scout was celebrating making the honor roll at a ceremony with her parents. 

Just two weeks before she was killed, Garza celebrated her 10th birthday. One week before, she completed her Girl Scout bridging ceremony, a beloved tradition that honors girls’ achievements throughout the year and symbolizes them “crossing the bridge” to the next level. 

Garza was the first victim of the Uvalde mass shooting, which is now the second worst in the nation’s history. 

The Girl Scouts paid tribute to the brave 10-year-old at her funeral services on Tuesday with a Presentation of Colors. 

“We will carry her story with us always and ensure her brave actions will endure for generations,” the organization said.

Relatives at the ceremony and representatives from Girl Scouts of the USA are commemorating her as a “sweet, sassy, and funny” girl who loved Play-Doh, playing with friends at recess and being a Girl Scout. 

Garza’s call to 911 was not her first time standing up to those around her. 

On Monday, May 30, David Treviño told the Texas Tribune that his 11-year-old had faced bullying at Robb Elementary, and Garza stuck up for her. 

"[My daughter] is taking it really hard. She would protect her from the bullies,” Treviño said,as his daughter cried during a vigil for Amerie.

In an interview with CNN, Garza’s stepfather, Angel Garza, said he wants people to know that she died trying to save her classmates. 

"She was so scared of just strangers and things like this. She would lock the door when I would step out to put gas in the car. This is literally her worst fear and she was just trying to help everyone," he said.

Amerie Jo Garza died upholding the Girl Scout Promise: “to help people at all times,” and for that, she received one final badge. 

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