Mattoon woman helps bring small children to safety


MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA)–One woman’s trip to the park ended with a call to police. Now, she’s being awarded for what she did.

Connie Miller-Grady is a park ambassador in Mattoon. She was looking for two loose dogs on Tuesday, but instead found two toddlers all alone. She said when she saw those kids all alone her motherly instincts kicked in.

Connie Miller-Grady said she found two children hiding behind a swing at Lytle park while looking for two loose dogs. She said the pair only had one shirt between the two of them.

“I had to take my sweater off to cover one of them,” Miller-Grady said.

Then she got ahold of the police. She stayed with the kids until officers arrived, but they had no luck trying to get ahold of parents to pick them up. One of the kids wouldn’t leave Miller-Grady, so she went to the police station with them.

“She did not want to get in a car,” Miller-Grady said. “She was just scared you know? Very scared.”

She left after the kids were safe at the police station, but she said it was one of the hardest things she’s had to do.

“I wanted to take them home, put them in a bath, i wanted to feed them, clothe them. I hated to walk away from them. They were calling me nana.”

Police eventually got ahold of the kids’ mom and DCFS. They awarded Miller-Grady with a medal for stepping in. They said when more people take initiative, it helps them keep the community safe.

“Sometimes we need a little more assistance than what we hope for,” Lt. John Hedges said. “But we’re very appreciative of Connie,”

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