"I'm happy that somebody stopped running for me," Dominique, 17, a Fels High senior said yesterday. "I don't know what would have happened if she wasn't there."
Since that day three weeks ago, Helena has been praised for her attempts to revive Dominique, who had fainted from dehydration. Helena checked Dominique's pulse, elevating her legs and shielding her from the cold.
But Helena, a senior at Randolph Career Academy on Henry Avenue, and a licensed emergency medical technician, said she did nothing more than apply the skills she'd acquired to someone who needed assistance.
"I always liked helping people," she said, adding that she also is training to be a firefighter.
"I didn't think it was a big deal. I saw her in distress and I wanted to help. I was trained to do this."
But it was a big deal to Louis Moyerman, athletic director at Fels High. He gave the teen a gift certificate to Best Buy and a bouquet of flowers during a ceremony at a recent meet.
"It's really nice to see good kids do good things," he said. "They should be rewarded for it."
Dominique also gave Helena a Fels sweatshirt.
Helena was less than a mile from the finish line when she saw Dominique collapse, she said. She ran to her, rolled her onto her back and realized that she wasn't breathing.
"I started tapping her shoulder, asking her if she could talk, where she was and what year it was," Helena recalled. "Then I checked her pulse in case I had to do CPR. I looked at her pupils and they were rolled in the back of her head."
She placed the unconscious teen's legs on the lap of Dominique's friend and put a rolled-up jacket beneath her head.
After Dominique was carried away, Helena explained herself to her coach, Tom McLaughlin, who was waiting near the finish line.
"She came up to me and said, " 'Don't be mad . . . but I stopped the race on purpose,' " McLaughlin recalled. "When she told me what she did, I gave her a hug. It was the right thing to do.
"We as a school community, and as her coach, are extremely proud of her. She was willing to step up and act right away while others ran past [Dominique]."
Moyerman, who also serves as Public League cross-country chairman, said the gifts he gave Helena weren't adequate.
"I would have given her the Number One [place] if I knew what she did that day," Moyerman said. "She's a good role model without knowing it."
Helena's mother, Sharon, said she's proud but not surprised by what her daughter did.
"If a person appears to be in distress," Sharon said, "she's going to help."