Courtesy of Keith Gray, Colonial District Chair
Recently, I was honored to present the Boy Scouts of America’s Honor Medal to 17-year old Eagle Scout, John Daly, a member of Troop 301 chartered by St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria.
The Honor Medal was awarded to John because of his successful rescue of an eleven-year old boy who had been caught in a rip current in the Atlantic Ocean and was rapidly approaching the open sea. The Scout saw the boy struggling and was nearby in the water and at significant risk to himself also entered the rip current and performed a rescue. Not only was the young boy at risk of drowning, but John deliberately made the decision to enter the rip current as well and assist the young man back to shore since no others were nearby to assist.
The Honor Medal is a national award and bestowed upon deserving individuals by the National Honor Court of BSA and is awarded to those Scouts or Scout leaders for lifesaving or meritorious action for outstanding or unusual acts that demonstrate heroism, skill or bravery and reflect Scouting ideals.
The National Honor Court defines “heroism” as conduct exhibiting courage, daring, skill and self-sacrifice and defines “skill” as the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively in execution or performance. In this case, Eagle Scout John Daly certainly exhibited a selfless act of courage and demonstrated the highest ideals of Scouting. I was also struck by not only the quiet confidence as I spoke with the young man, but also by his humble appreciation of doing as he put it, “What he needed to do to help the young boy.” The lifesaving skills and confidence learned as a Scout were demonstrated here, and there is no doubt that his quick action saved the young man’s life.
The two awards, the Honor Medal and Honor Medal with Crossed Palms, cannot be earned or won, and instead are awarded based on criteria established by the National Court of Honor. The lesson here was that a young man could put his Scouting skills to good use when he needed them, and was able to use his training and confidence to successfully perform an ocean rescue.
Scouting is a great program that successfully prepares young men and women for life, and it is personally fulfilling for me to be able to meet a humble young man who exhibited courage and resourcefulness to save another person’s life.