Boy Scout Receives National Heroism Award
Saint Louis, MO (June 19, 2012) Daniel Berry, an Eagle Scout with Boy Scout Troop 352 in Kirkwood, never thought a simple family vacation to southern Missouri would change his life. But in the late spring of 2010, it did, when his quick action and Scouting skills helped rescue a motorist who had a medical emergency and crashed his car.
The Boy Scouts of America has honored Daniel Berry's actions by awarding him the National Heroism Award which is given to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save a life at minimum risk to self. Only 121 of these awards were given in 2011, and since it was established in 1923 there have been only 5,922 recipients.
On Monday, May 31, 2010, at approximately 10:30 AM, Daniel and his father left for Saint Louis after a brief vacation at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, heading north on US 65 near MO 86. Daniel, who was driving, pulled off to the right shoulder to allow the other car in his caravan time to catch up. While sitting there, Daniel witnessed a southbound pickup truck run off the right side of the highway; travel up a rock embankment; and come to a stop in a ditch.
Daniel carefully crossed four lanes of traffic and arrived at the distressed driver and his vehicle, along with two other good Samaritans who were flagged down by another witness. Unfortunately the names of these two individuals are not known either by Daniel or the EMS Operations Supervisor. However, it is important to note that these two individuals were active servicemen or recent veterans of the service; and that this accident occurred on Memorial Day 2010.
After arriving on the scene, Daniel immediately identified that the unaccompanied driver was in obvious distress. He noticed the driver's body shaking violently. Using skills learned as a Cub Scout, Daniel called 911 and got the 911 dispatcher on the line. His dad completed the 911 call and Daniel went to care to the needs of the victim. Despite the unknowns that came with an accident of this magnitude, Daniel immediately put into action the first aid training that he had received in Scouting.
As he learned in the training as a Scout, Daniel surveyed the scene for potential hazards and began evaluating the accident site looking for dangerous conditions prior to administering care to the victim. Daniel observed that the victim's car was off the road by 10 to 15 ft., and determined that the vehicle was clear from on-coming traffic and posed no further risk to the victim, his fellow responders or other passing motorist.
Confident in his skills, Daniel, who had just served as a Disaster Day Training Instructor for Troop 352, was confronted with another key decision point, to treat or not to treat. Daniel decided to assist in the first response effort and put into action his earlier teachings.
Daniel reported that the man was un-responsive, and either could not or would not speak. Accordingly, Daniel determined that the driver was either in shock or was suffering from post-seizure symptoms. He based his diagnosis using teachings received in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Daniel then hustled to the right side of the vehicle and opened the door to allow air to circulate on this hot, humid Memorial Day. These actions resulted in the best opportunity to keep the victim comfortable and reduce the risk of shock and/or contributing to extreme fluctuations in body temperature. Daniel also reached across the front seat and turned the ignition off to prevent the vehicle from moving, thereby reducing the risk of potential electrical short or fire. These actions Daniel learned in the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge course work he completed several years earlier.
Daniel was honored during a special Court of Honor Ceremony on June 19, 2012. "It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to witness Daniel receiving this award. He truly epitomizes the best of the Scout Oath and Law," stated Michael Brand, Membership Chair of the Eagle Scout Association of St. Louis. Brand added, “I have known Daniel since he was a Cub Scout. Even as a young Scout, Daniel exhibited care and concern for the welfare of others.”
"It is no surprise to me that Daniel has received the National Award of Heroism," stated Michael Lewis, Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 352. "He has that rare mix of dedication, enthusiasm, and drive, all while truly living the Scout Oath and Law."
"I am very proud of him," said Traci Berry, Daniel's mom. "Many of the scouts have these skills, but it doesn't happen often that they are presented with an opportunity to use them. It meant a lot to him to be able to help those people. It was life changing for him. But more importantly he looks at things differently now, and it has boosted his confidence." Rick Berry added, "I am pleased that he is being recognized for this award, because he took the initiative without any regard for his own safety, he just wanted to get in and help someone."
Daniel credits his family’s help and his Scouting experiences with giving him the skills he needed to handle this situation. "I took Lifesaving and learned what and what NOT to do. The most important thing to remember is that stuff can happen at any time. You have to prepare for any situation, have the training, and know how to help people," remarked Daniel.
Daniel is currently a student at the University of Alabama, majoring in Math with a minor in Computer Science. He is an alumni of Kirkwood High School’s Class of 2011. Daniel earned the rank of Eagle Scout on March 2, 2011. He is a member of the Eagle Scout Association of St. Louis, a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow - Shawnee Lodge, an alumni of S-F Scout Ranch – Camp Gamble Staff, and is registered as an adult leader with Troop 352 in Kirkwood, Missouri.