Scout’s First Aid Skills Save Choking Victim

Scout Ryan V. was awarded the Medal of Merit after he saved a man’s life with the skills he learned in Scouting. (Photo credit: DNAinfo/Mina Bloom)

One quick-thinking Boy Scout from the Pathway to Adventure Council is thanking Scouting for equipping him with skills that are not only preparing him for life – they’re the difference between life or death.

Last October, Boy Scout Ryan V. employed first aid techniques he learned in Scouting to save his former Scoutmaster’s life. Now, he’s being awarded the Medal of Merit for his skillful efforts.

Ryan recalls watching his former Scoutmaster become pale and frantically pace the restaurant before signaling that he was choking. With that sign, the Scout jumped to his aid, performing the abdominal thrust technique. After three thrusts, Ryan helped to dislodge the piece of food, saving the man’s life.

“I didn’t think a situation could come up like that in my life. When I was learning all these different procedures, I was thinking, ‘OK, at least now I know what to do if something happens,’ but I didn’t think anything would happen,” the Scout said in a news article in DNAinfo.

A model of humble service, the Scout says he gives all the credit to Scouting.

“Without their teachings … it’s scary to think about,” he shared. “I might not have been able to effectively perform the maneuver.”

How Scouting Made a Difference

“I believe it plays a major role in young men’s lives. It helps give you a sense of responsibility and a sense of ownership of what you do, and gives you a large amount of knowledge,” the Scout explained.

Now 18, Ryan plans to attend DePaul University where he intends to study computer science – but that doesn’t mean his connection to Scouting will end. Ryan hopes to continue his involvement in the program by mentoring young adults. After experiencing how valuable Scouting has been in his life, he says he couldn’t imagine not being involved in Scouting in the future..

“I’m very proud of myself that I know different techniques that could help become the difference between life and death for someone.”

Learn more about how Scouting equipped this brave Scout with the training it took to save someone’s life by reading the full story on DNAinfo.


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Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at