He saved his brother’s life, but this Texas Eagle Scout doesn’t call himself a hero

Eagle Scouts know to “Be Prepared,” but nobody’s prepared for this.

When a fire started in 18-year-old Reid Vaenuku’s house last March, everyone rushed outside to safety.

Well, not everyone. One member of the family of nine was still inside — Reid’s brother Keio.

Ignoring the fact that smoke was filling the house and his lungs, Reid rushed inside to find Keio still sleeping; he woke his brother and led him to safety. Firefighters later told the family that the roof could easily have collapsed on top of the brothers.

Five months after that dramatic day, the Boy Scouts of America has given Reid its top award for bravery: the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms, given for “unusual heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save life at extreme risk to self.” 

Just 19 people earned the prestigious medal last year, and fewer than 300 Scouts and Scouters have received it since its inception in 1938.

Reid was honored at a special ceremony yesterday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints building in Colleyville, Tex.

As you would expect, everyone’s calling Reid a hero. But does he feel like one?

“Honestly I don’t,” he told Dallas television station KTVT. “I just feel like a brother. That’s it.”

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.