Two Adventist women, Meghan Doggett, 21, and Mindy Cosaert, 16, died by drowning in the Wenatchee River at Tumwater Canyon near Leavenworth, Wash., on July 15. 

Cosaert and Lisa Vargas, 16, were crossing the river on an air mattress, caught in an unexpectedly strong current and swept downstream into the nearly mile-long rapids. Doggett dove in to try to save them but died in the attempt. Vargas miraculously survived the ordeal with scratches and bruises. Cosaert, however, was found unconscious after being underwater for some 15 minutes. Although CPR was administered, she never regained consciousness and passed away on Tuesday, July 18. 

Cosaert had just completed her sophomore year at Walla Walla Valley Academy and was spending the summer with relatives in Wenatchee, helping to care for her great-grandmother. Cosaert is the daughter of Walla Walla College professor of theology, Carl Cosaert and his wife Carol. Carl gave the homily at Mindy Cosaert's memorial service. He had always looked forward to officiating at Mindy's wedding someday and said "but since that will never be, I do not want to concede this privilege to any one else." Carl Cosaert said, "A very important part of who Mindy was, was that she was a very spiritual person. Her faith meant a lot to her." 

Doggett is the daughter of Carol and Mark Doggett. For several years she had lived with Eric and Kris Collier and for the past two years with Mark and Wendy Witas. Mark Witas is the Cascade Christian Academy principal in Wenatchee, Wash. Doggett worked at Children's Home Society in Wenatchee, volunteered as a youth leader in her church and was a former student at Walla Walla College. Wendy Witas said, "Meghan was so amazing, enthusiastic and fun. Most of all, she shared the light of Jesus to everyone around her. 

"She would have been devastated if she hadn't jumped in that river and done everything she tried to do," Kris Collier said. 

In an Wenatchee World editorial, the editors said, "Every year, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awards medals to individuals who voluntarily risk their lives while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. We can think of no one who is more deserving of a Carnegie Hero medal than Meghan Doggett" (July 23, 2006).