She loved her extended family and took care of her younger siblings and cousins. On August 19, 2020, 18 year-old Raina Lynn Neeland was playing in the water with her younger relatives at Clearwater Dam, about 250 miles north of Minneapolis. The dam is a popular location for water play; kids love to jump into the lake above the 14-foot high dam and slide down its face, like a water slide. But on that day the water was running high, due to recent rains.
Several kids, one only 6 years old, got caught in the turbulent water at the foot of the dam and struggled against the undertow to stay afloat. Neeland, seeing that they would drown, rushed in and pulled several of them to safety before she herself was caught in the current and drowned.
“We probably would have had multiple fatalities,” Sheriff Darin Halverson told reporters. “The water is just churning under the dam. … She did her part and saved who she could.”
Photo credit: Neeland Family