Since 1912, just over 1,000 Honor Medals have been awarded to Scouts for risking their lives to save the life of another. Thousands of other times, Scouts may not have been at risk themselves, yet they were successful in saving someone’s life. David Scott, publisher of Running Towards Danger, did the math and figured out how many people are living today because of the heroic actions of a Boy Scout. Scott said, 

“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. No vol­un­teer life­sav­ing pro­gram … has had such an impact on a coun­try.”

The following are stories of how Scouting has saved countless lives across the country in the last century:

Jon and Daniel Holverson 

These two brothers and Scouts from Roy, Utah were awarded for their heroic actions when they came across a car in a ditch. They sprang into action when they saw “two young girls in the backseat and an unconscious man in the driver’s seat”. When Jon and his dad pulled the man out, they noted his pulse was really low and he wasn’t breathing. According to KSL news, Jon did chest compressions on the driver while his father Clip used a breathing device to give the man air.

Daniel pulled the two girls out of the back seat of the car and helped them up to the highway. He kept the girls busy, so they didn’t have to see their dad getting CPR. He went and got supplies out of their family’s emergency kit to tend to the girls and help his brother Jon. When the ambulance arrived, Jon said he “didn’t realize (the paramedics) pulled up or anything because I was just in the zone doing what had to be done”. The two Scouts were recognized six months later at a surprise ceremony during their regular Court of Honor. Both were awarded a Certificate of Merit for their lifesaving actions. 

Daniel Hillenburg

Daniel, a 12-year-old Scout, just happened to be walking down to the river with his father when they both noticed a kayaker in distress. Dylan Asbury, the kayaker, had been on the cold Talkeetna River in Alaska for over seven hours, after being separated from his friend. He was an experienced river guide, but the river that day was especially rough, with flash flood warnings being issued. After being on the cold water all night, his body temperature had dangerously dropped to 80 degrees. 

According to The Connection Newspaper, Daniel recognized that the kayaker was displaying symptoms of hypothermia, like his blue ears and shivering body. Daniel had recently completed a Red Cross first aid certification with his troop in Arlington, so he was well prepared. The Scout and his dad were able to give the kayaker warm water and food, and he soon came out of the hypothermic symptoms. They helped the police find the kayaker’s lost friend upstream with a helicopter search, so all ended well for the two. 

Nicolas Latiolais

This 17-year-old Scout was headed to a doctor’s appointment when he stumbled upon what he thought was just a car crash. Little did Daniel know, he had stumbled upon the aftermath of a shooting in-progress. A gunman let loose on a Houston neighborhood, killing one man and injuring several more. When Nicolas came upon one of the injured victims, he thought the man had been a victim of a car wreck, not a shooting.

Nicolas began first aid, then realized something was different when the man said “I’ve been shot”. According to The Daily Beast, Nicolas said, “That’s when I realized there were actually two wounds, one where the bullet entered his thigh, and one where it exited.”

The article continues, “His high school history teacher happened to be on the scene and helped him make a tourniquet from a belt to stop blood loss. Latiolais talked to the victim to keep him calm, all skills he learned in six years as a Boy Scout, and through his work as a lifeguard.” 

Police eventually arrived to take over, and Nicolas was evacuated from the area since the shooting was still happening. He eventually made it to the doctor’s office safely, and could reflect on what had just happened. Nicolas said, “In Boy Scouts they always talk about helping others and serving the community just because that’s what you’re supposed to do as a citizen, I just knew that I could help him so I did.”

Arnold Andrade

Arnold’s case is slightly different from the rest, in that Scouting saved his life. One weekend, Arnold had been invited to a house party with some of his friends. That same weekend, however, he had a campout with his Atlanta Troop; he chose the campout over the party. Sadly, he came back from the camping trip and learned that someone had fatally shot his friend at the party. Arnold realized that Scouting going on that campout had potentially saved his life. 

In a different way, Scouting has saved Arnold from a life of poverty and crime by helping him attend college. Growing up in Scouting, his Scoutmaster was his only father figure, who taught him to strive for success in school. Because of Arnold’s good grades, he attended Benedict College and stood out as one of the top in his class. Instead of falling into the same bad choices as those around him, Arnold chose Scouting’s morals and values, which saved his academic life and future. 

A video of Arnold’s emotional speech at the Golden Eagle Luncheon can be seen here

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Tyler North
Is an Eagle Scout, an avid backpacker, and hunter. He's a Hispanic outreach specialist in his local council.

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