04.01.21

Daines Honors Montanans of the Week: Celea Poitra and Gahge Whitemanrunshim of Big Horn County

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines last week recognized, Celea Poitra and Gahge Whitemanrunshim of Big Horn County for courageously stepping up to help others in the face of danger.

Through his “Montanan of the Week” initiative, each week Daines will highlight a Montanan by submitting a statement of recognition in the official Congressional Record, the document that reflects the official proceedings of Congress.

Daines welcomes anyone to nominate fellow Montanans for Daines’ “Montanan of the Week” program by calling Daines’ office at 202-224-2651 or by filling out the contact form on Daines’ website: HERE.

The following is a statement submitted to the Congressional Record:  

TRIBUTE TO CELEA POITRA AND GAHGE WHITEMANRUNSHIM OF BIG HORN COUNTY

Mr. DAINES. Mr. President, this week, I have the honor of recognizing Celea Poitra and Gahge Whitemanrunshim of Big Horn County for courageously stepping up to help others in the face of danger. They exhibit strong Montana values, and their dedication to helping others is admirable. 

Celea and Gahge were in their grandmother’s pickup truck heading to a dental appointment on Saturday, February 27, 2021, when they witnessed a devastating 30-vehicle pileup on the Yellowstone River Bridge outside Billings, Montana. Dozens of vehicles crashed into each other on the icy interstate highway bridge. After their truck came to a stop, Celea and Gahge saw a vehicle with a mother and two kids hanging partially off the guard rail of the bridge. Celea and Gahge did not hesitate to step in and help. However, the impact from other vehicles hitting the pile-up knocked both of them off of the bridge and they fell to the ground about 60 feet below.

They sustained serious injuries when they fell and are recovering in Billings’ hospital. Celea was treated for a broken back, lacerated kidney, and other injuries. She was in an intensive care unit and is expected to need multiple surgeries. Gahgesuffered a fractured neck, punctured lung, and other injuries. Their grandmother and guardian, Joan, stated that it is very much in her children’s nature to go out of their way to help someone. 

It is my distinct honor to recognize Celea and Gahge for demonstrating such bravery to help others in need and I pray for their swift recovery. Their selflessness serves as an inspiration to all Montanans.