Ruth Millington, who was on holiday when she was caught up in the deadly quake that claimed the lives of over 25,000 people, was honored by the Royal Humane Society at a ceremony in London on Friday.
The award, a testimonial on vellum signed by the society's president, Princess Alexandra, was presented by the Austrian Ambassador Alexander Christiani at his residence.
The 35-year-old solicitor from Sheffield, northern England, also received Austria's top Gold Medal on a Red Ribbon honor, because she saved the life of Austrian citizen Hanno Ruesch among other casualties.
Speaking after the ceremony about her ordeal, she said the earthquake happened just 24 hours after starting her holiday. "It was like having 20 locomotive trains in the room," she said.
"The hotel just disappeared. It was the most frightening experience. I spent the next nine hours trying to locate people who I could hear screaming," Millington said.
According to the Yorkshire Post, it took her two hours after the earthquake to get to the first person in the rubble of her hotel. Altogether he helped to pull out 10 people, seven of whom survived.
Speaking at the ceremony, chairman of the Royal Humane Society, described her act of bravery as 'remarkable'.
After returning to England, Millington set up a charity, Action for Orphans, which is aimed to help the 3,000 children from Bam left destitute by the earthquake.
Next week, she is due to fly to Iran to assist with the charity's work on its current project of building homes for the children. She said that her experience had given her a different outlook on life and that the charity was now her passion.
"It's been a very difficult time since coming back from Bam and readjusting to living back in England having gone through what I experienced out there," said the solicitor, who now lives in London.
"When I came back I didn't think anybody could relate to me and understand what I went through and when I was contacted about the award, I thought somebody understood," she said.
... Payvand News - 11/6/04 ... --