Boy Scouts of America upon recommendation of the National Court of Honor awarded the National Certificate of Merit to Ethan Daniel Voelkers of Troop 2 in Bartlesville, OK for putting into practice Scouting skills and ideals. Ethan’s actions and information prevented others from being injured.
On December 2, Ed Harvey, Council Executive of Cherokee Council (left) presented the award to Ethan (right) during Ethan’s Eagle Ceremony at the First Presbyterian Church in Bartlesville.
On April 21, 2007, on a campout weekend with Troop 2 at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge in north central Oklahoma, Ethan Voelkers made a startling discovery.
While digging for selenite crystals, Ethan dug into an unseen glass vial containing an unidentified substance. Being instantly overcome by the gas, Ethan was fortunate enough to escape using common sense, instinct and a bit of Scout training. He ran from the area to get fresh air and water. The strong wind helped clear his lungs, and he was able to tell what had happened.
Ethan and his parents contacted the Wildlife Refuge manager, and because of Ethan’s ability to describe where he had been digging, the rangers were able to find the hole he had dug and located 11 unidentified vials of an unknown substance.
The vials were chemical agent test kits used to train soldiers during World War II. Among these chemicals were mustard gas, phosgene and chloropicrin, all diluted with chloroform.
A total of 158 intact vials and at least 20 broken vials were found along with incendiary bomblets which may have been intended to destroy the vials many years ago.
The National Court of Honor conducts its deliberation not only to recognize deserving individuals but also to preserve the historical integrity of the awards.