On Sept. 14, 12-year-old Stella Overbagh made a 911 call to report that her mother was having a medical emergency.
She was on the phone with El Paso County Sheriff’s Office call taker Janell Peralta for about 2.5 minutes, tending to her mom, Vera Overbagh, until emergency responders from Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District arrived at their home.
Stella Overbagh gave a clear explanation of the situation to Peralta and accurately provided her address and phone number during the call. She remained poised and asked Peralta clarification questions. Overbaugh was also able to follow all of Peralta’s medical instructions before emergency responders were on site.
The youngster, who has since turned 13, was honored Nov. 15 for her ability to remain calm and follow instructions during a medical emergency. Overbaugh was presented with the 911 Hero Award by the El Paso Teller 9-1-1 Authority during a ceremony at Lewis-Palmer Middle School, where she is a student.
“It was nerve-racking, but I felt calm,” Overbagh said. “The operator told me what to do, but it feels good to be appreciated.
“It was quite a surprise because it feels like it was so long ago.”
In addition to the award, Overbagh was presented with Coins of Excellence from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District at the surprise ceremony. Overbagh said she had no clue she was going to be honored.
“It’s not often you take calls from children, but when you do, it’s usually super serious,” said Peralta, who was on hand for the award presentation.
As a result of the call, Veda Overbagh was transported to a hospital, treated and released, able to return home that same night. Stella Overbagh stayed home to look after her younger brother and ensure he stayed calm, her mother said.
“Stella has always cared about others more than herself,” Veda Overbagh said. “She’s very book smart but also very street smart.”
The 911 education program put on by the El Paso Teller 911 Authority has two full-time workers which solely visit schools in both Teller and El Paso counties to educate young people on the proper uses and protocols for making the emergency call.
“We just think the education is invaluable because it saves lives,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Office Bureau Chief Brad Shannon, who presented Stella with the department’s coin of excellence. “We want all the kids to understand there really are lives at stake.”
During Shannon’s 31 years in service, the department has several times seen parents or adults who have found themselves in a situation unable to call 911 and it was a child who had to make the call, he said.
Jamey Bumgarner, TriLakes Monument Fire Marshal and Battalion Chief, presented Overbagh with the fire department’s honoring coin. During the presentation, he said what Stella had done the night of the 911 call was no small feat and that her actions impressed the emergency crew which arrived on scene.
“The crew that responded to the call was so complimentary,” Bumgarner said.
Stella Overbagh agreed the 911 education in schools is important for future reference. Between the education she has received and her own experience having to call 911, she said her confidence is high for responding to an emergency situation.
To enhance her babysitting experience, Overbagh is CPR-certified. She has aspirations of becoming an anesthesiologist.
She is a national cheerleading athlete and has appeared in competitive events on ESPN.