Scouts striving for Eagle, or adult Scouts who never quite achieved the rank, can take heart in this story out of the New Birth of Freedom Council. Pierce W. is 15. He’s a Life Scout and, while he hopes to achieve Eagle Scout in the near future, he’s already got the experience of saving an Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor recipient and Eagle Scout under his belt.
The takeaway: any Scout can be prepared when the time arrives. Read on to learn how.
A Scout is Brave
In April of 2014, when Pierce was 14, he attended the Order of the Arrow meeting at his church. He was walking through the building when he saw council committee member Tom Minchin looking markedly unwell. He was conscious but not responding to Pierce.
Peirce wondered if Mr. Minchin was having a heart attack or stroke. Then Pierce remembered Minchin had Type 1 diabetes. How did he know? Scout training.
Minchin helped with Pierce’s medicine merit badge training, where he explained he was diabetic. Minchin said if he was ever having a problem, he trusted the Scouts.
“He said anytime he had an emergency, we had permission to help him,” Pierce explained.
These words, coupled with a very brave Scout, saved Minchin’s life.
A Scout is Helpful
Tom Minchin remembers telling the Scouts that when a Type 1 diabetic goes into a reaction, “There can be a personality change. A happy-go-lucky person can become a nasty individual. And it can happen in the snap of a finger.”
When Pierce recognized this in Minchin, he sprung into action.
“Pierce, evidently remembered, word for word, what I had said,” Minchin explained.
Pierce knew to find a snack for Minchin to boost his blood glucose levels. With no luck finding sugar in the church kitchen, he was able to find some candy in Minchin’s car, along with a blood sugar testing kit.
Sounds easy enough, but Minchin put the mere feat of locating his car in perspective. As Minchin was unresponsive, Pierce searched for the car in a parking lot of what Minchin estimated to be one hundred cars. Thanks to Scout ingenuity – and the remote unlock feature – Pierce was successful.
An EMT and a nurse who happened to be at the church (also Scouters) then helped Pierce by administering a few pieces of chocolate to Minchin. When paramedics arrived and took Minchin’s blood glucose level, his reading was extremely low. Two shots and an IV later, he was stabilized.
A Scout is Kind
With more than 55 years of Scouting experience, Minchin is a representative of the Marine Corps League for the BSA’s National Council. He’s an esteemed, decorated Scouter and volunteer. But that didn’t stop a less decorated Scout from saving his life.
Minchin said, “I think it would be great for other people to have the opportunity to learn that when the rubber meets the road, Scouts are ready to ride.”
He praises Pierce’s actions so highly, he even wrote the council’s Scout Executive to share the story.
“I look to him as a hero for taking the necessary actions to alleviate my medical concern,” Minchin explained in the letter.
As for Pierce, a family of Scouters, including two Eagle Scout brothers and a sister who received the Gold Award in the Girl Scouts, surrounds him. But he’s unique. While achieving Eagle Scout may be on the horizon, for now, Pierce is a life-saving Life Scout.