Baxter awards 6-year-old for his heroic actions

Kevin Lee, manager at North Memorial Health in Brainerd, said he has been in emergency medical services for more than 30 years and he has never seen a case where a 6-year-old child recognized a medical issue and made a call to help someone.

Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted presents a Citizen Letter of Commendation to 6-year-old Aiden Spencer, who is holding his grandmother's hand, Susan Spencer, Thursday, Feb. 25, at Baxter City Hall, as Spencer's younger brother Lucas, and his mom, Leah Spencer, stand by his side. Spencer received the letter for his heroic actions last week in helping his grandmother was was experiencing a medical emergency. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — If it wasn’t for a Baxter woman’s 6-year-old grandson, things could have turned out tragically for the grandmother.

Susan Spencer was taking care of her grandson Aiden Spencer on Feb. 18 when she began to experience a medical emergency. When Aiden saw his grandmother in distress, he called his mother, who then called 911. The call very well could have saved her life.

Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted Thursday, Feb. 25, presented Aiden with a citizen letter of commendation on behalf of the Baxter Police Department and the city of Baxter, to recognize his heroic and lifesaving actions during a short informal ceremony in front of Aiden’s family.

North Memorial Health Manager Kevin Lee shows 6-year-old Aiden Spencer the computers in the rapid response vehicle Thursday, Feb. 25, at Baxter City Hall. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch


“Your quick thinking and actions on that date ensured that quick medical attention would be provided to your grandmother, Susan Spencer, who was experiencing a medical emergency,” Exsted stated. “When Grandma stopped talking on the phone and started to experience her medical emergency you understood that she needed help and you knew to call your mother and explain what was going on.

“In turn, because of your actions, your mother was able to alert emergency responders who were summoned to render aid and help Grandma in a time of need.”

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When the 911 call was made, Baxter police and North Memorial Health Ambulance were paged to Susan Spencer’s home. Susan Spencer said she was conscious but disoriented and she didn’t know why there were so many strangers in her house.

Exsted said the boy’s actions as a 6-year-old were impressive. The chief told Aiden, who was being shy and trying to partially hide behind his mother Leah Spencer, that he did an outstanding job.

“Somebody taught you well on how to recognize a medical emergency,” Exsted said to Aiden. “This is an important part for us as a law enforcement and EMS (emergency medical services) response. When we see something like this, we always want to encourage the public to teach kids at a young age on what to do in an emergency, as you never plan for the medical emergency, they just come when you least expect them.”

Kevin Lee, manager at North Memorial Health in Brainerd, said he has been in emergency medical services for more than 30 years and he has never seen a case where a 6-year-old child recognized a medical issue and made a call to help someone.


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“This was truly a medical emergency and we did take her to the emergency room,” Lee said. “He (Aiden) knew something was wrong and he did something and he should be commended for his actions. Good job, Aiden.”

Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson also spoke a few words at the ceremony and said what Aiden did was phenomenal.

“We’re proud of you and I’m sure your family’s proud of you for what you’ve done,” Olson said.

Assistant Chief Russ Wicklund shows Aiden Spencer and his family a Baxter police car Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Baxter Police Department. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

After the short ceremony, Aiden didn’t have much to say about helping his grandmother or for receiving the letter of commendation, but he was excited about getting a tour of the emergency vehicles.

Leah Spencer offered a few more details of the day. She said she was at a tax appointment in Cushing and she was talking to her mother on the phone.

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“All of a sudden we were talking about stuff and she just went quiet,” Spencer recalls of the conversation. “Then in the background I could hear Aiden saying ‘Mama, Nana’s not talking.’ And I was so confused and (we hung up) and Aiden called me back and said, ‘Nana’s not talking,’ and I could hear in his voice that he was shaking and trying to get her attention.”


The mother and son talked another minute or so and then hung up so Leah Spencer could call 911.

Leah Spencer said Aiden was pretty shaken up by the whole experience and he told her he didn’t know what was wrong with his grandmother. The mother said both Aiden and his 2-year-old brother Lucas now worry about their grandmother whenever she leaves the house or goes somewhere.

Leah Spencer said her children don’t know about their grandmother’s condition — so for Aiden to recognize something was wrong with her was “pretty crazy.” She said she is proud of her son for knowing what to do and glad everything turned out.

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.


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