Local girl and 9-1-1 operator honored for bravery and heroism

Local girl and 9-1-1 operator honored for bravery and heroism

Amarillo, TX - An Amarillo teen and 9-1-1 operator are recognized for taking a preventative measure that saved two lives.

Nayeli Marquez is like most 14-year-olds, but one situation has a local organization dubbing her and the operator "heroes."

On the afternoon of July 30th, Nayeli was home with her little brother when she heard knocks...from who she said were four men (one whom was armed). After not opening the door, the men kicked in the back door and entered the home.

Nayeli, scared and shaken up called 9-1-1 as she took her brother to safety.

"I still remember telling my brother hurry go to my room and I'll lock the door and at that moment I was calling 9-1-1 and I was scared out of my life, honestly," says Nayeli.

Bonnie Barnett was the operator who took Nayeli's frantic call.

"When I realized that she was only 14 and her younger brother and they were both there alone and someone was trying to get into their house and you have to take that seriously and just the training kicks in, you just start doing what you need to do," says Barnett.

Tuesday, the two are honored for their bravery during a down-to-the-wire situation with the 9-1-1 Hero Award. Barnett says she handles calls often with children abusing the 9-1-1 system.

"She's going to be a great role model for her friends," says Public Education Coordinator Leticia Truex. "They're going to see that she was rewarded for doing good and not abusing it and maybe it will encourage them to do better."

"I didn't know a bunch of kids abused the 9-1-1 privilege, and it's actually really nice being able to have 9-1-1 there when you need them 'cause I didn't know anybody at all, but they still helped me get to my mom and get to the police as soon as possible," says Nayeli. "Hero? I think that's a lot. But you know, I'm being recognized here so of course it means something."

The men in the robbery have since been charged and were booked into the Potter County Detention Center.