This is the tenth day of our Twelve Days of a Scout Christmas. For the next three days you will find inspiring Christmas messages of Scouts giving the gift of living the Scout Oath and Law. Countdown to Christmas with us as you read these daily messages of Scouts being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

The tenth day of Scout Christmas reminds a Scout to be brave. A Scout can face danger although he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at him or threaten him. Courage comes in all shapes and sizes. Some Scouts show they are brave by standing up to peer pressure and doing the right thing. Others show they are brave by tackling that 50 mile hike or rappelling for the first time.

Especially at this time of year, we can remember and be inspired by the courage it took for Mary and Joseph to accept God’s plan for them and devote their lives to raising and serving the long-awaited Messiah. And every Christian Scout should take as his example of bravery Jesus Christ, who showed selfless courage as He faced trials, mocking, suffering, and death for the sake of all of us.

Of all the stories of Scout bravery, some stand out for the magnitude of the service rendered. Brave Scouts have saved lives all over the world, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. Michael S. Malone’s book, Running Toward Danger, tells the stories of some of these acts of bravery. According to Scouting volunteer David Scott, publisher of Running Toward Danger, “An estimated 3 to 5 million people—the equivalent of a city the size of Houston and Chicago—are alive today in the U.S. because they, or one of their parents and grandparents, had their life saved by a Boy Scout,” Scott says. “No volunteer lifesaving program … has had such an impact on a country.”

Any one of those stories could epitomize the bravery of Boy Scouts. This story of Rudd Long shows a Scout who is not only brave, but also determined:

Heavy June rains in North Benbrook, Texas, near Ft. Worth, had turned a local concrete drainage ditch into a roaring torrent. Seeing the two-foot-deep jet of water as an opportunity rather than a threat, Clay Yandell, 10, climbed in and quickly was knocked off his feet and carried down the ditch. An instant later, the boy’s legs were dragged under a broken piece of concrete and pinned with a buried pile of brush.

Scout Rudd Long, 16, saw Clay being carried down the ditch and then trapped underwater. At the risk of his own life, he jumped into the ditch and as he did, called to a friend to get help.

Unable to pull the boy free, and fighting the pressure of the roaring water, Rudd lifted Clay’s head momentarily above the surface and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He continued to do so, often having to go under the surface himself to give Clay the breath of life—all while the water pounded against them. A neighbor arrived and, with Rudd, tried to divert the water away from Clay, but with little success. Meanwhile, young Clay began to drift into unconsciousness.

About this time, the boy’s mother arrived. Seeing her son drowning, she too jumped into the canal only to be swept off her feet. She had to be dragged out.

After a half-hour, a group of local men reached the scene. Tying a rope around Clay, they managed to pull the boy out of the trap. The men despaired that they were too late—that Clay had already drowned.

But Rudd refused to give up, he continued his artificial respiration until Clay was loaded in the ambulance and put on a mechanical respirator. He made the right choice: young Clay Yandell survived.

Maria Milligan
Has spent several years as a merit badge counselor, several summers as a waterfront director, and her whole life wishing she could do the Pinewood Derby with her 6 brothers. She joined the Utah National Parks Council as a Grant Writer to get her chance.


  1. Darryl Alder
    Darryl Alder ( User Karma: 9 ) says:

    I was a respiratory tech in the military. This story is amazing for its faith in training alone. I can tell you that I was not trained to be as diligent as Rudd, he is certainly a hero in my book for sticking to the task until professional help arrived!

    1. Maria Milligan
      Maria Milligan ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

      His diligence is what really struck me as well. To give rescue breaths under such difficult circumstances (for over thirty minutes!) and then to continue literally until the boy was lifted into the ambulance is incredible.

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