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SOAR scholarship: Alleman student holds true to her name 'Miracle' after 2020 derecho injury

"She found the strength within herself and I'm so glad she chose to fight," Miracle's stepmother said.

WALCOTT, Iowa — An area student is one of three high school seniors receiving a SOAR scholarship award this year as WQAD News 8 teams up with The Sedona Group to recognize outstanding achievements.

Miracle Martensen is a senior at Alleman High School who enjoys being a part of school functions. 

"I love being around people," she said. "I'm a big people-person."

She also volunteers at places like Humility Homes and Services to help those in need.

"It just really shows how many people are affected," Miracle said.

"Miracle's a prime example you wouldn't know looking at her everything she has been through," Humility Homes and Services Executive Director Ashley Velez said.

Miracle experienced a day she'll never forget back in 2020.

"I didn't know if there was a tornado was happening or what," stepmother Savana Martensen said.

The derecho swept through Iowa and Miracle was about to head into her Walcott home until a tree fell on top of her.

"It knocked me out of my shoes," Miracle said. "I don't even remember getting out of the car. It's just all a blur."

"I just took a moment and knew I had to call 911," Savana said.

In the aftermath, Miracle's back, right leg and top of her left foot were broken. 

"She is definitely someone who has overcome a lot of obstacles in her life," Ashley said.

Miracle had to learn how to rewalk due to the injuries.

"She found the strength within herself and I'm so glad she chose to fight," Savana said.

Doctors told her it would be a long road to recover, but months after being wheelchair-bound and going through therapy, she lives up to her name, Miracle. 

"Miracle would have been deserving of this award even had none of these things happened to her," teacher Andrea Thompson said.

"Miracle always had a smile on her face when she would enter the classroom," teacher Erica Salmonson said.

Miracle will be headed to college at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids. She plans to pursue nursing or social work.

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