A Cub Scout who realized his cousin was drowning and pulled him to safety received a Heroism Award during a National Court of Honor Ceremony on Wednesday, January 14th, 2009. Zach Heatley, a member of Cub Scout Pack 531, chartered to the Kratz Elementary School PTO in the Ritenour School District, was recognized at the conclusion of the Greater St. Louis Area Council’s Friends of Scouting Kickoff Dinner.
Last summer, 10-year-old Zach was swimming with his twin cousins in an above-ground swimming pool in his back yard. Family members were sitting at a picnic table a few yards away, but the surface of the water was out of their line of sight.
One of Zach’s cousins, Jordan Brickey, didn’t know the depth of the water as he entered the pool. He began to panic and struggled to keep his head above the water. Jordan’s twin brother, Scott, thought he was joking as Jordan thrashed in the water. Zach noticed his cousin was in distress and planned a rescue.
“What was going through my mind was, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s drowning. I got to do this,'” Zach said.
As he approached his struggling cousin, Zach was able to grab him and pulled his cousin safely to the side of the pool.
Jordan’s mother, Dana Buckner, witnessed the last few seconds of the rescue and realized what happened. In the affidavit submitted for the award, she stated her son escaped drowning or serious injury because of Zach’s awareness of the situation, his ability to act quickly and his level of physical fitness.
“When I questioned him Zach said, ‘Mom it was no big deal,'” said Shannyn Eldon, Zach’s mother. “Of course I’m proud of him. He’s a pretty amazing boy.”
The Heroism Award is the third-highest heroism award presented by the Boy Scouts of America. Of the more than 2.8 million youth members in the B.S.A., less than 100 Scouts received an Honor Medal each year.
The annual Friends of Scouting campaign provides 29 percent of the council’s operating revenue. This year’s goal is $2.4 million.