Readers comments 6.13.12
[Editor’s note: The following letters relate to award recipient Rachel Krieger, a 32-year-old Claremont resident with Autism Spectrum Disorder, who bravely called 911 and helped her neighbor Anna Petrovich escape her home that had caught fire. A full story is on page 3 of this edition. —KD]
June 7, 2012 was a red letter day for the special needs community. As my granddaughter Rachel Kreiger stood in front of the Claremont Police Commission meeting to receive her award, she was able to reach out to the 86-year-old neighbor whose home had burned. They stood arm-in-arm as Rachel accepted a real medal for having the presence of mind to call 911 and then bravely go towards the flames to waken and alert everyone to escape the midnight blaze.
The act of heroism on the night of the fire is worthy of praise, but the ability to stand in front of a group of uniformed police officers and community members and openly show her love was, for those of us who knew the years of fear and isolation and rejection Rachel had to overcome, an even greater act of valor. Of course, the Krieger family is proud of Rachel for what she did, but we’re prouder still of who she has become.
The Claremont Police Commission provided an opportunity to their own and to the community to see into the true heart of a young lady, despite a history of multiple developmental problems we now recognize as on the Autism spectrum.
Rachel’s previous encounters with police were primarily for negatives like major meltdowns resulting in hospital intervention, as Rachel struggled to deal with her challenges. Because the police and other first responders were there to help her in the past, Rachel began to understand the need to help others.
We want to thank the commission, Officer Mike Ciszek, and everyone involved in presenting this award.
And gratitude to the Claremont COURIER for their caring concern in interviewing Rachel and the family and friends who attended the ceremony.
On behalf of Rachel, we also want to acknowledge the support of Tri City therapy providers, the Pomona Valley/Inland Learning disAbilities Association, NAMI, teachers, neighbors, family and friends and especially her precious Autism service dogs, Tara and Nikki, for helping Rachel navigate the rocky road of growing up “special” and allowing her to become the proud recipient of a Police Excellence Award. With deep appreciation,
Arline Krieger and family
To the Claremont Police Commission:
Thank you to give me the award to save Anne Petrovich and the others from the fire. Love,