Girl, 13, Recounts How Dad Lost His Life to Save Her

Gracie Johnson survived rockslide that killed parents, sister, 2 cousins
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 5, 2013 1:40 PM CST
Dawna Johnson, 45, third left, and Dwayne Johnson, 46, right, with their children, from left, Kiowa-Rain Johnson, 18, Gracie Johnson, 13, and Dakota Johnson. Dwayne, Dawna, and Kiowa-Rain were killed.   (AP Photo/Johnson Family)
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(Newser) – A 13-year-old girl who survived a rockslide that killed her parents, her sister, and two cousins says she's alive today for one reason: her self-sacrificing dad. “I did cover myself, but I was just standing in the open," Gracie Johnson said on the Today show. "He did push me to a rock that was bigger than I was, and he just saved me.” Despite losing her parents, Gracie has been able to keep living in the small town of Buena Vista because an aunt and uncle moved there after the tragedy.

“I'm doing really well, and I'm healing a lot," says Gracie. “It's a lot different. Nothing is going to be the same for me.” She suffered a broken leg in the Sept. 30 rockslide but was able to ditch her crutches this week, notes the Denver Channel. Her uncle, Daryle Johnson, says the small town has stepped up. “We got just everybody supporting us up there," he says. "You don't know how many times you hear, 'Anything we can do for you, just give us a call.'" (Read more hero stories.)

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