Woman receives award for helping Flagler boys injured by fireworks

'It was just a reaction. I'd do it again if I had to,' woman says

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – The Flagler County Sheriff's Office honored a woman who jumped into action and helped two young boys who were severely injured when an altered firework exploded days after the Fourth of July.

Gladena Rutland, a mother of two, received the award Tuesday afternoon.

"A certificate of commendation for helping out those two kids. It's almost like a Good Samaritan act for you," Sheriff Rick Staly said.

Rutland was driving home from church on July 9 when she noticed smoke coming from the women's bathroom at Carver Recreation Center in Bunnell.

"At the time, this little kid was bleeding. I need to get this little kid to the hospital. I need to save him," Rutland said.

Deputies said the 8- and 7-year-old boys somehow got ahold of stolen, illegal fireworks from a makeshift fireworks stand that thieves burglarized days before the incident.

"There's multiple suspects and we're having to use witnesses and forensic evidence, so it's not going to get cleared overnight. It's going to take some time," Staly said.

Meanwhile, Staly said the department and county leaders, are still in the process of drafting up an ordinance to stop the sale of all illegal fireworks.

"If they're not here to sell it to begin with because you can't sell it, then at least the temptation to burglarize a storage building won't be there," he said.

Rutland said she knows one boy's family and said he's back home, recovering. As for being honored for her courageous act, she told News 6 that she was just happy to be there to help.

"It was just a reaction. I'd do it again if I had to," said Rutland.

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