Fairview employee gets medal for helping boy thrown from Mall of America balcony

She was the first to rush to his side

Linda Larson, clinic manager of the Institute for Athletic Medicine in Burnsville
Linda Larson was supposed to work a half day Friday, April 12, at the Institute for Athletic Medicine in Burnsville, but decided to take the day off instead. That gave her time to stop by the Mall of America to return a shirt for her mom.

She was on her way to the store on the second floor when she heard screaming. At first she thought it was a shooting. But then she caught sight of the boy on the ground floor.

Although she didn’t know the details yet, a man had thrown the 5-year-old over the third floor railing.

“I flew down those stairs,” she recalls. She was the first person to get to the boy.

As a physical therapist assistant and clinic supervisor, Linda had just completed her refresher training in Basic Life Support in March. She assessed the situation and began gentle CPR until two nurses arrived and took over. Several people had called 911. Paramedics quickly arrived, and Linda stayed to assist.

Linda says she acted on instinct: “I did what I would hope anyone would do. I knew I could try to help.”

Linda has been with the Fairview system since 1984. Although she routinely receives Basic Life Support training and is always prepared, this was the first time in her career she had to use it, acting as a first responder.

“You can never be prepared for a situation like that,” reflecting on the shock she felt that day. “My daughter comforted me afterwards by telling me I did what I could with my two hands.”

Linda is being awarded a Commendation Medal by the Bloomington Police Department at a ceremony recognizing employees and community members for heroic actions.

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