Colorado Springs: Cris Barnhart, Therapeutic Recreation Program volunteer, honored with Spirit of the Springs Award Tuesday at City Hall

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Mayor John Suthers presented a Spirit of the Springs  Celebration Award to Cris Barnhart, a volunteer for the City's Therapeutic Recreation Program (TRP), at City Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 10. Barnhart was recognized for saving the life of a drowning child at Prospect Lake.

On July 24, Barnhart was volunteering with TRP's adaptive water skiing program, when he heard panicked cries from the far side of Prospect Lake. Without hesitating, he leapt to action, steering his jet ski to the opposite shore, where a small crowd had gathered.

Barnhart quickly learned that a young boy was drowning and with the help of a member of the community, the unconscious child was pulled to shore. Realizing the boy had ingested lake water, Barnhart quickly and calmly administered CPR for nearly 10 minutes.

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As TRP volunteers worked to ease the panicked family and the growing crowd, Barnhart restored the boy to consciousness. The child was frightened, but alive when emergency staff took over care. The responders praised Barnhart for his decisive actions which, ultimately, saved the boy's life.

Mayor Suthers commended Barnhart, saying, "July 24, 2019, is a day that no one at Prospect Lake will soon forget. We are grateful to share that this story had a positive outcome. Cris acted selflessly in the face of a dangerous situation, and it is with great pride and gratitude that we recognize him with a Spirt of the Springs Celebration Award."

The Mayor's Office welcomes the opportunity to recognize exceptional individuals and organizations within the City of Colorado Springs with a Spirit of the Springs Celebration Award. These awards are presented to recipients by the mayor or an official designee to honor them for outstanding achievements. For more information, visit

Filed Under: Government, City

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