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Drowning Victims Remembered As Heroes

March 14, 2014, 9:55 PM by Jared Ransom

Drowning Victims Remembered As Heroes

What happened one year ago to Lyle Eagle Tail and Madison Wallace is still engrained into the minds of family, friends and those who tried to save them. On Friday, they all gather to pay their respects.

"It really spoke to the heart of their spirit, both Lyle and Madison. Their spirit is here and all the hundreds of people that attended, it was quite moving," Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jim Sideras said.

Eagle Tail and Wallace went into the water after Madison's six-year-old brother slipped in. They disappeared under the ice and were recovered two days later. Their bravery and sacrifice is what leaves the deepest impression.

"To remember him and Madison, because the two, in our culture, are considered protectors," memorial organizer John Eagle said.

Kevin Krall is a former neighbor of the Wallace family and spoke on their behalf. As he shared words for the family, he knew what he would be taking away from this day.

"You're never really gone as long as you're remembered, and people learn from it. The courage, just the courage and sacrifice, all the virtues," Krall said.

The rescue crews came to honor their memory, but were also recognized for their efforts to save Wallace and Eagle Tail.

"Their actions both touched lives and made people think about how they would react, and when we look at hundreds of people coming here almost unannounced and people just drifted here, it says a lot to their actions," Sideras said.

"People that come here have something in their heart that brought them here. They're not here as a tourist, they're here because they are meant to be here," Eagle said.

Falls Park will never be the same for those touched by this tragedy, but Wallace and Eagle Tail both leave behind something special.

"Cementing for now and into the future what they did, the instantaneous trying to save somebody else," Krall said.

A special star blanket was made to honor both Eagle Tail and Wallace. Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether was there to accept it and he says it will soon hang proudly at Sioux Falls City Hall.

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