So, you used to be an Eagle, eh? What course?
I didn't attend the National Meeting this year; had just stepped down as Council Commissioner. One of the most impressive things about the Region luncheon meetings is the part where they present awards of heroism to Scouts. To those who attended: Any truly inspiring stories from this year's meeting? About three years ago, the Southern Region introduced an Eagle Scout who had been a POW in Afghanistan. You would remember him as the POW whose beaten and dirty face was on the cover of Time and Newsweek (both magazines, if I remember). He was a helicopter pilot whose craft was shot down.
He was from Texas, about 24, and had the best Texas accent and was the most polite young man, in full dress uniform.
When asked by the Region Representative, in front of a banquet of a 2000+, to describe his ordeal, he was very humble and self-effacing.
He said that, even without the tracers, he swore you could see the incoming rounds as they were fired at your helicopter. He said that the damage warning system for minimal damage was a heads' up screen that flashed information about damage to the craft in text on a green screen. When there was a major problem, a calm woman's voice would announce the damage, like "main hydraulic system damaged," "rotor damaged."
As his craft approached its target, he took heavy fire. He said he thought things were bad when the heads' up quit showing a line of type reporting damages, and instead just started scrolling text. He began to suspect things were quite bad when the woman began to calmly report one major system after the other as damaged. He said "when she started talking so fast she was stuttering, that's when I knew we were going down, Sir."
At any rate, they let him, in full uniform, present some of the Regional awards for heroism to the Scouts and you could tell that was a big deal for them . . . and for him.
One Scout from Tennessee had been the babysitter for a boy with Downs Syndrome -- and chose to do that because he had a sister with the birth defect. He was on a boat on a river in Tennessee, holding the three year-old boy in his lap, riding with the boys' parents and grandparents, and perhaps some other family members.
The boat exploded, killing the grandfather (at the helm) immediately. The Scout was thrown 100 feet from the boat, but never lost his grip on the young boy in his care, although both of the Scouts' legs were shattered.
He swam back to what remained floating of the houseboat using one arm, his legs useless, his other arm holding his young charge. Once he placed the boy safely on the wreckage, he swam and rescued the remaining members of the family from the water, some of whom were unconscious.
Those of you from the boy's Council in Tennessee can correct the details -- but it just goes to show the type of young man who scares the ACLU.
While you're at it, Tennessee -- I met a Scoutmaster from Troop 1 (Memphis?) who was in his 90's and had been a Scoutmaster for 75 years. When it comes to Scouting, Good on' ya, Tennessee!