Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author, Blogger, Speaker, Scouting Veteran, and Camp Director
A SCOUT PREPARED AND A LIFE SAVED
My daughter had just received notice that her son, Joseph, was to receive a lifesaving meritorious award. She knew that her son had been nominated for something but didn’t know what the award was. She thought that it was the lifesaving merit badge or something. I tried to explain to her that it was beyond that – a special award given to someone who had somehow saved the life of another person.
She said, “How rare is this award?” I said, “Well, let me say it this way … I have been in Scouting for 50 years and I have never seen the award presented.” This got her attention.
It was a very hot summer Arizona day last June and Kaylea’s five sons (and probably daughter too) were all in the pool trying to stay cool. And they were normal boys doing normal boy things – horsing and playing around together in the water. But then eight-year old Brodey was out of air and sunk to the bottom of the nine-foot pool. And no one knew that he was down and struggling. Brodey later reported: “I thought that I was leaving this world”.
But then Joseph, playing elsewhere in the pool, heard a voice. It was not a loud voice. It was a still and quiet voice. He later reported that “The Holy Ghost told me that Brodey was at the bottom of the pool and needed help.” Wow! Joseph was himself then a brand new 11-year old Scout and had never had any lifesaving training. Joseph listened to the voice even as it directed him in very specific actions to take to bring Brodey up from the bottom of the pool. He did as he was instructed and soon had the limp but breathing Brodey pulled up from the bottom of the deep pool and safely up to the deck of the pool. With the prompt actions of his older brother, little Brodey was alive and safe. He was soon breathing well and everything was normal. But what a miracle!
I heard of the incident as I was traveling through Utah to work at Camp New Fork (in Wyoming) for the summer. I was in total awe of the story. I knew how spectacular it was. I went on to camp and when I got home a couple of months later, I researched the BSA lifesaving awards. I found that there are three levels of recognition for lifesaving action and that nominations are made on a single form. I learned that a council nominating committee (like the one that selects Silver Beaver recipients and such) would have to review the form and then decide if recognition was deserved. The local council can present the Medal of Merit independently but if the committee suggests greater recognition, the nomination form is forwarded by them to the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
I believed that his actions might be worthy of recognition. So, I conducted an interview first with Joseph to hear his view of the situation. I was amazed – and grateful – when he told me how “the Holy Ghost told me that Brodey needed help, where he was, and how to grab hold of him to bring him out of the water.” I was grateful that his parents had taught him about the Holy Ghost and even more pleased that at his young age, he had learned to listen to that still small voice. I interviewed Brodey (alive and well) and got his story. I interviewed the Mom and the other siblings as the application required. With this process complete, I submitted the application on to our local Grand Canyon Council office in Phoenix.
We heard nothing for a few months. Then suddenly, “out of the blue”, Kaylea received the call from a council representative. The call caught her off guard and she didn’t know what the guy was talking about. She did gather that her son was to receive recognition of some kind. The caller said that they wanted to present the award at the upcoming council recognition event (with Silver Beaver awards). The problem was that Joseph’s parents and grandfather (me) would be out of town the weekend of the council event.
Other options were explored and it was determined that the award would be presented at a Mesa District Scout leader’s roundtable – the largest upcoming gathering of Scouters.
The big day came on April 6th – his mother’s birthday – and the day before Joseph’s own birthday. Though unplanned, his other grandparents were in town from Oregon. And of course my wife, my parents (Joseph’s great grandparents), and other relatives were all in the local area. We all gathered with high anticipation for the grand event. Many of us were in Scout uniform – as was Joseph. I presented Joseph with a classy embroidered red Scouting neckerchief (celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Scouting in the LDS Church) for his special occasion.
I talked with the local District Scout Executive about the presentation. I had thought that a council officer had planned to be come to present the award. Not so … he was unable to come on this night. And to my surprise, the DE invited me to present the award. I had a big smile on my face with that invitation. That was a big wow for me to be able to present this special award to my own grandson.
At the beginning of the roundtable, and after the usual opening business, the District Executive introduced me to present the award. I called forward Joseph, the lifesaver – and Brodey – the life saved – to stand by me. I introduced the award briefly and told a bit of the lifesaving event background. I then called upon Joseph, my grandson, to share what happened. He told how the Holy Ghost had told him about Brodey’s need for help – as well as the instructions on how to extract him from the pool bottom. I then commended his parents for teaching him about the Holy Ghost and commended him for being tuned in to Him in order to save Brodey’s life.
Joseph – and his proud parents and grandparents – were quite surprised when all 200 or so people present simultaneously stood and broke into a loud standing ovation for Boy Scout Joseph. What a great moment! Scouting and Duty to God – together. Brodey alive and Joseph … recipient of the BSA Lifesaving Medal of Merit! A scout prepared and a life saved.
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevinthescoutblogger
See this link for an introduction to Kevin the Scouting Trails Blogger. Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”, and others at his Scoutingtrails website. Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy Scout, The Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read! Find Kevin on Facebook at: Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.
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