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Press Release | April 26, 2024

Coast Guard presents Gold Lifesaving Medal to Puerto Rican woman for saving 3 children in 2014

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard presented the Gold Life Saving Medal to a Puerto Rican woman at Coast Guard Base San Juan, Friday.

Aivelyn Díaz Rosado, 39, a resident of Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal for her heroic actions on April 21, 2014, in which three children were saved from strong rip currents in Dorado, Puerto Rico.

“Today I had the honor of formally presenting the Gold Life Saving Medal, on behalf of the Commandant, to Aivelyn Díaz Rosado for her heroic actions on April 21, 2014, that saved three children from drowning off a beach in Dorado, Puerto Rico,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Sector San Juan commander.  “The Coast Guard is proud of Aivelyn and we wish her the very best in her future endeavors.”

The ceremony took place in the historical building of Quarters 1 and was attended by Sector San Juan officers and enlisted personnel who witnessed the special occasion alongside Díaz Rosado’s parents, daughter, sister, brother-in-law and fiancé.

“For me, this recognition that the U.S. Coast Guard has given me means a lot to me, a decoration that very few have the privilege of receiving in their lifetime,” said Aivelyn Díaz Rosado. “I thank God for his mercy, my family of their love and unconditionally; José and Luis, the surfers who saved my life; and the U.S. Coast Guard for making this day a special and memorable one. My respect and admiration for each and every person who risk their lives every day to save other.”

The Gold Lifesaving Medal is one of the United States’ oldest medals, it was created by Act of Congress in 1874 and may be awarded to an individual who performs a rescue or attempts to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck or other peril of water, at the risk of their own life, and demonstrates extreme heroic daring.

Below is the text to the Gold Life Saving Medal Citation as it was presented:

On behalf of the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Commandant takes great pleasure in presenting the GOLD LIFESAVING MEDAL to AIVELYN DIAZ ROSADO for acts as set forth in the following CITATION:

“For extreme and heroic action on the afternoon of 21 April 2014, when three children were caught in a strong rip current in Dorado, Puerto Rico. After spending the day with her family at a beach off of Road 165, Mrs. DIAZ was getting ready to leave when she noticed three children who were playing in the water, being dragged out by the current. Without hesitation or regard for her own personal safety, she ran from her vehicle, over shoreline rocks and into the water after the children. Despite not knowing how to swim and having a personal fear of the water, she was able to reach all three children, bringing them one-by-one to safety before she was overwhelmed by a strong wave and pulled out to deeper and open water. The rough seas and strong currents pulled Mrs. DIAZ further out to sea where she baffled the forceful waves, barely staying afloat before slowly starting to drown. Unable to maintain her strength any longer, Mrs. DIAZ was ready to give into the exhaustion and let herself go under. At that critical moment, two local surfers who noticed the distress, rescued Mrs. DIAZ by paddling out through the strong surf, one on a surf board, the other a boogey board, to where she was located. After being brought back to shore and exiting the water, Mrs. DIAZ was transported to a local hospital in critical condition by emergency medical personnel, where she recovered and was released six days later. Her unselfish actions and valiant service, despite imminent personal danger, reflect great credit upon herself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service.”

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