When Eagle Scout Caden E. hit the beach with his family to go surfing, little did he know that another family at the beach that day would need his help to save their lives.
It all started like a normal day with a few small waves and plenty of fun in the sun for Caden and his family. As a kid who has been surfing for several years, Caden decided to paddle a little farther down the beach in search of a bit more of a challenge.
As he paddled toward another break, he noticed a woman far out in the water, frantically waving her hands. He paddled toward her and saw that she had two small children clinging to her, and another small boy was a few feet away. All of them were struggling to stay above water.
The family had been pulled out to sea by a rip current, and they’d been unable to fight the current and swim back to shore. Fatigue was beginning to set in for all of them.
Caden managed to help the woman and the two children with her onto his longboard to help them stay afloat, but as he was doing so, the young boy was overtaken by exhaustion and slipped beneath the waves.
In that moment, Caden knew he had to do something, so he dove down into the water and retrieved the boy, pulling him back to the surface and onto his surfboard.
Once everyone was on the board, Caden began paddling away from the rip current and eventually back toward shore. As he did so, lifeguards and others were swimming out to help bring everyone all the way back to the beach.
“This is an example of the highest ideals of the Boy Scout program,” said John Crowder, a district representative with the Boy Scouts of America Tidewater Council. “This is the sort of person that you’d want to be or want your son to be.”
For his lifesaving efforts, Caden received the Medal of Merit.
To learn more about this remarkable Eagle Scout, be sure to read the full story in The Virginian-Pilot.