COATESVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Chester County teen was one of 16 recipients to receive the Carnegie Medal Thursday night, North America's highest honor for civilian heroism.
Eighteen-year-old Darby Bicking's heroic act helped save an 8-year-old girl, Anna, who was being attacked by a dog at a horse-riding center in Coatesville back in 2020.
The Carnegie Medal is given to those who put themselves in extreme danger while saving, or attempting to save, the lives of others.
"Darby Bicking has been awarded the Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission," announced Melissa Brock, the director of operations for the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
"People who risk their own personal safety to save a life, to help another person, that's what Darby did," Brock said.
Bicking says she was volunteering at a summer camp when she noticed one of the kids getting mauled by a dog. At the time, she was only 15 years old.
"Without a thought, I just ran into the circle, was pushing the dog off Anna, and then he latched onto my left arm. I finally got off him," said Bicking. "I was dragged basically from one end to the other."
After the attack, Bicking says she had to get roughly 30 stitches on her arms and legs. Anna was able to walk away with only minor bite wounds.
When Bicking heard screams, she says she went into fight or flight mode.
"I just ran right in there and was screaming, 'Get off of her!'" she recalled.
Years later, Bicking says she's humbled to receive such an honor.
"When I found out I was one of the winners I was in Florida in Disney, so it is the happiest place on earth, I will say that," she recalled.
At the end of the ordeal, Bicking says she was given the choice about whether the dog would be put down.
She said that she thought the dog deserved to have a second chance.
"I believe everyone deserves a second chance, even animals," she said. "He was abused by his former owners, crammed into a box too small. So, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt."
Bicking did ask that the dog not be around children, and to be muzzled outdoors.
She received her medal on Thursday night.
The experience has given her a new perspective and has inspired her to work towards her dreams of going to veterinarian school.