GA local hero receives a national award; and if anybody deserved one, 15-year-old Stephanie Quackenbush does. She is the Albany girl who fought off an armed attacker and then helped send him to prison. Today she received “The Courage” award. And courage is something Stephanie has plenty of. So much, she was honored at the Department of Justice National Missing Children’s Day awards ceremony.
Stephanie almost never lived to see her future. On June of last year, on the way to school she was attacked by a man armed with a butcher knife. Quackenbush fought and screamed, even after the man told her he was going to stab her. Her screams got the attention of two men, as her attacker ran. He turned out to be 24-year-old Darius Ashley, who is serving 25 years in prison for the assault on Quackenbush, and the rapes of two other girls. Stephanie’s mom, Rhonda Quackenbush, says she is, “proud, very proud. She has four sisters and she taught us all a lot. She deserves it.
Stephanie also has words of advice. “Just for like young girls, fight back, scream as hard as you can. You have one chance, why not take it.” Stephanie’s attacker also allegedly admitted to raping and killing Gretchen Perham, a classmate of Quackenbush. He has not been prosecuted for those crimes.