Christopher Read had no idea that he would become a hero after attending a merit badge camp in Texas. It was there he learned the requirements for the First Aid Merit Badge — the First Aid Merit Badge is required to advance to the rank of Eagle Scout.
“I went to a merit badge camp earlier in the year where I received first aid training and earned my First Aid Merit Badge. One of the requirements was the Heimlich maneuver. After the camp, I remember practicing and talking about the Heimlich maneuver at several weekday Scout activities.”
Becoming a Hero
Not long after, while attending school, one of his teacher’s began choking, so he sprang into action.
“One day in class my teacher started choking on an m&m and I remember thinking, I know what to do here. So I jumped up and did the Heimlich and it worked. The m&m just kind of popped out.”
Read was only eleven and in the fifth grade at the time.
“My teacher was super grateful and thanked me repeatedly. I told the story to my Scoutmaster, who arranged for me to receive an award for my services.”
But although everyone around him viewed him as a hero, he didn’t.
“I don’t remember thinking much of it. I had been trained in it, I saw what needed to be done, so that’s what I did. It wasn’t really scary or a challenge, it just kind of happened.”
He was fulfilling the Scout Oath by helping other people at all times. He also exemplified the 10th attribute of the Scout Law; to be brave.
From Hero to Eagle Scout
Five years later, Read earned his Eagle Scout Award.
“The band at my high school in Georgia had a lot of storage space, but it was dangerous because the staff tried cramming too many things in the storage room. So, We took everything out, built some shelves, and made it easier for the school to organize everything. The school was grateful.”
After earning his Eagle Scout Award, he graduated from High School and went on to study Biochemistry at Brigham Young University — he graduated in April of 2017. Read also served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Guatemala.
Read is currently studying his Ph.D. in Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. He hopes to one day be a college professor.
Scouting has not only helped get him where he is today, but it’s also helped him in a myriad of other ways — three especially stuck out to him.
“Scouting taught me a good work ethic and helped me become diligent. Scouting helped me develop leadership skills and learn how to communicate with others in a project setting. Scouting also taught me the importance of service and the rewarding nature of it.”
Scouting is so much more than earning merit badges and going on outdoor adventures. Scouting transforms young people, builds character, and in some cases, saves lives. As Scouts apply the principles they learn like Christopher Read did, they too can be heroes. After all, a hero doesn’t just wear his Scout uniform on the outside, he wears it on his heart.