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A Letter of Thanks to Smith's Heroes

Karen Axelrod, of Northampton, was terrified recently when she fell through the ice on Paradise Pond into deep, frigid water while chasing a dog. To her fortune, she was quickly helped out of the icy pond by Jose Cartagena and Kristen Nickl, members of the physical plant, who happened to be nearby.

Axelrod recently wrote this letter to the college in thanks for Cartagena's and Nickl's heroic deed:

I’m writing because I think that your two Smith employees, Kristen Nickl and Jose Cartagena, deserve (along with my gratitude and thanks) a ton of praise, a few days off, and a million-dollar raise. Okay--I know the raise probably can’t happen. But really, I feel like Kristen and Jose played a big part in saving my life.

Last Tuesday [Jan. 15], I ended up in Paradise Pond, in water over my head, hanging onto ice after I attempted to rescue a dog. Perhaps a very dumb move on my part. It was reported that the water was waist-deep. It wasn't. It was over my head, and I was absolutely terrified. But Kristen and Jose heard my cries for help, came quickly and helped rescue me. I have personally thanked them. But, I also want Smith College to know the important role they played in helping me.

I suspect that the city of Northampton and Smith College might not be celebrating Saint Kristen and Saint Jose day. But, every January 15, I will be.

Please be good to these wonderful employees of yours. I feel like I owe them my life.


Karen Axelrod   

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