‘She was always my hero;’ family remembers nurse who saved woman from burning building

Gwendolyn Theus, who died in 2020 while saving a paraplegic woman, received the Carnegie Medal for Civilian Heroism.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 10:19 PM CST
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Delhi, La. (KNOE) -The family of Gwendolyn Theus is speaking out after she was awarded one of the nation’s highest civilian honors.

“I definitely think my mom is a hero,” said Detirick Theus, Gwendolyn’s daughter. “She has always been my hero.”

Theus, a nurse, died last November while saving a paraplegic woman from a burning building.

On Dec. 20, Theus was awarded the Carnegie Medal of Civilian Heroism, North America’s highest civilian honor.

“I mean, it’s the highest-ranking that you can get,” explained Gwendolyn’s daughter. “It just moves me to tears.”

For Billy Theus, Gwendolyn’s husband of 42 years, the recognition makes the mourning process just a little bit easier to manage.

“This award will help remember her for the kindness and act she did toward her fellow human being,” Billy told KNOE.

“When someone dies, life goes back, everybody goes back to the same, but you are struggling with the grief,” explained Detirick. “To get a gift like that right before Christmas was great.”

Billy Theus says although the award is nice, Gwendolyn’s family already knew she was a hero.

“It’s something I’m proud about that she went like she did and gave her life for somebody else,” said Mr. Theus. “She was a caring person. She cared about people in the community. She went out of her way to help people, and that’s the way she lived.”

Theus told KNOE, Carnegie will formally award the medal in Delhi in 2022.

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