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The scouts of Troop 16 were supposed to be learning first aid that night, but the boys who were supposed to be teaching the class were not prepared. So they decided that instead of them teaching the class, the younger scouts would teach the older scouts first aid that night. The older scouts were very amused by this idea. The situation was degenerating into a farce.


At this point a troop committee member stood up and made his way to the front of the room. He was a quiet man who did not normally take an active role in troop meetings. He asked the senior patrol leader if he could address the troop before they began their training that evening. The surprised SPL agreed. The quiet man stood facing the troop until they quieted down, and then told them the following story.


I saved a life, using a technique that I learned right here, at a Boy Scout Troop 16 troop meeting. It doesnt have to be dramatic. There doesnt have to be a bunch of blood and gore. It can be a church social, and a woman is coming across the room asking if there is a doctor in the house, or a first aider, because a little girl is choking. So I wandered across the room expecting to see a child coughing, perhaps, and everythings OK.


When I got to the other side of the room I found a little girl, sitting at a table, looking stunned. Her face was blue, turning black. Her mother had collapsed into a chair next to her, sobbing. And there were men shouting and there were women screaming, but out of a hundred people in that room that day, I was the only one who knew what to do. He paused, and looked about the room. You could have heard a pin drop. That little girl is six now. And the reason she is six, and not forever three, is because a well prepared scout taught the Heimlich Maneuver one night, and this adult volunteer was paying attention to what was going on.


Looking directly at the senior scouts, he continued. You older scouts know most of this stuff. These younger scouts need to learn. You never know whose life you are going to impact. That other scout does not know himself, to this day, but now you do-how he saved that little girls life, every bit as much as I did.


With that the quiet man returned to his seat in the back of the room, to a standing ovation from the other adults. After a short pause, the scouts continued with their meeting, only now the older scouts were eager to teach, and the younger scouts were equally eager to learn. I like to think they learned an even more important lesson that evening, though, of the difference one scout can make when he honors the scout motto, be prepared.

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