On July 31, 2011, Eagle Scout Connor Stotts singlehandedly saved the lives of three swimmers caught in a dangerous riptide near Oceanside Beach, Calif.
This bravery earned Connor the BSA’s Honor Medal With Crossed Palms, as well as the Carnegie Medal (which came with a $5,000 reward). But the college sophomore now has another award to add to his collection: a 2014 Citizen Honors award.
Selected by living recipients of the Medal of Honor — the highest award bestowed upon military heroes for acts of wartime valor — the Citizen Honors awards recognize three civilian American heroes for acts of bravery in their daily lives. Connor’s actions certainly fit the bill.
(Read on to learn more about Connor and find out how you can watch the Citizen Honors Ceremony March 25 at Arlington National Cemetery.)
During a youth group outing at a local beach, a dangerous riptide swept 17-year-old Connor and three others out to sea. The Eagle Scout pulled each member of the group to safety, which meant swimming through a strong current with another person in tow and returning into the current about 200 feet from the beach. By the third trip, he was physically exhausted and the remaining swimmer was losing consciousness. Connor worked quickly to hold the swimmer’s arms around his neck while using a side stroke to swim to safety.
Now a sophomore at the University of Southern California and a midshipman on a Marine-Option Naval ROTC scholarship, Connor will be honored with one of three 2014 Citizen Honors awards in a ceremony held at 2:30 p.m. EDT on March 25 at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Tune in to watch the live-stream video of the ceremony.
“This is a chance to honor Americans who have gone above and beyond in the civilian world. Ordinary individuals who, in a crisis situation, do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons,” says Medal of Honor recipient Barney Barnum.
Connor’s example of courage is something every member of the BSA family can celebrate.
Above: Brig. Gen. Vincent A Coglianese, commanding general of Marine Corps Installation West – Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, presents Eagle Scout Connor Stotts with the BSA’s Honor Medal with Crossed Palms certificate on April 25, 2012. Connor is a member of Camp Pendleton’s Boy Scout Troop 790. Photograph by Lance Cpl. Derrick K. Irions.