A Spokane County road crew worker who took action when she found three small children left home alone was recognized Tuesday morning by commissioners and her co-workers.
Kelley Stickelmeyer was with her crew about 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 14 preparing to patch pavement on Vista Grande Drive north of Trent Avenue when she saw two girls, ages 5 and 2, on the front porch. The older one was crying.
She hesitated at first, but when no adult appeared, she went to the porch and found the front door open. Inside, she saw a 1-year-old girl.
She said the older girl told her that their mother was home when she went to sleep but was gone when she awoke. The girl said her father was deceased.
All three of the girls were in dirty diapers, with the two older children in night-time versions.
Stickelmeyer, 36, called 911 and waited with the girls until sheriff’s deputies arrived, she said.
“I got them some water, poured them some cereal and played with them,” Stickelmeyer said. She showed them games on her phone and changed their underclothes.
“I just wanted to make sure they were taken care of,” she said in an interview after the presentation. “Anyone would do that.”
Stickelmeyer, who has a 7-year-old daughter, said, “I think we need to look out for our children. Those little girls are precious.”
On Tuesday, Spokane County commissioners presented her with a plaque for “doing an outstanding job in response to a community emergency.”
About three dozen of her co-workers attended the morning presentation.
State Child Protective Services was notified and took the children from the home, county officials said.
A spokesman for CPS declined to confirm that the agency was called and to comment on what happened with the children.
However, the children’s grandparents arrived at the home while law enforcement was on scene, Stickelmeyer said.
She acknowledged that stepping into an uncertain situation involving someone else’s children was a “scary moment.”
But if something happened to her own daughter, she said, “I hope … someone would take care of her.”
Stickelmeyer has been working as a temporary seasonal employee and was assigned to flagging duty that day. Her job ends in October.
Her boss, Bob Keneally, said of Stickelmeyer, “Her true character showed through.”
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