Boy Scout training kicks in during emergency

AVON, Ind. (WISH) – Quick thinking by three Avon Boy Scouts helped avoid what could have been a potentially dangerous situation Sunday evening.

Connor Wakefield, 13, his brother Hunter, 14, and Joshua Echerd,14, are all in Boy Scout Troop 306 in Avon.

They were heading back from the Ransburg Scout Reservation in Bloomington with an assistant scoutmaster Sunday evening when they say his arm started shaking, and he pulled over.

“He pulls over, his arm’s shaking,” they explained. They said their leader was cold, so they turned down the air conditioning in the car.

After waiting a moment, they pulled back into traffic in Martinsville, with their truck hauling a trailer.

But it was moments after that, they say the leader started having what appeared to be a seizure.

“I looked up, and we were drifting over the median; I’m yelling at him [Connor] to grab the brake,” said Joshua.

Connor said he tried to grab the brake, but the leader’s leg had pressed down on the gas pedal, so he pulled the emergency brake as Joshua steered them into a ditch to avoid traffic.

“I’m driving us into a ditch just so we can try to get the car stopped and he finally gets the e-brake and we come to a full stop,” explained Joshua. “We turn around to look at Hunter and he’s not even in the car anymore!”

Hunter had run into a nearby AutoZone to call for help.

“The minute we drove into the ditch I did everything I could do to get help, called our parents, called 911,” Hunter explained.

Meanwhile Joshua said he had run around the car to attend to their leader, trying to flag down passing cars as he went.

“After that we used the basic first aid we’d learned. We have this thing called ‘Check, Call, Care,’ the three C’s,” explained Connor.

Other drivers stopped, emergency personnel showed up, and they learned their leader would be okay.

“I can definitely attribute everything that happened that day to our Boy Scout training,” said Joshua, adding there is a chapter in their first aid book on seizures.

Quick actions, that kept everyone in the car safe, and everyone else on the road that day as well.

“It was a very proud moment,” said their Scoutmaster Chris Jackson, who wasn’t in the car that day, but quickly found out what had happened.

“These boys became very calm, they did what needed to be done,” Jackson said, adding again how proud he was of what these boys had learned, and put into use.

For these brave teens, aspiring to be Eagle Scouts, they say they did what they had to do in that moment.

“You should always stay calm and be ready for anything. No one expects anything to happen – we didn’t,” said Hunter.

“It was definitely just not by chance we were all in the car together,” said Joshua, “It might have ended very differently if not.”

The adult leader in the car that day is doing OK. He said he is so proud, and ‘very appreciative of what Josh, Hunter, and Connor did.’ He added, ‘I’m fine thanks to three very fine young men. I may not remember what happened, but they took their scout training and put it to work. Thank God no one was hurt and no damage was done. Thank you for all the prayers, but thank God for three fine young men.’

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