It’s every mom’s worst fear.
A day of fun hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for Laurie Leslie and her 7-year-old son, Devon, turned into a nightmare when the boy slipped and fell into a waterfall and couldn’t get out.
“At that moment I just felt complete hopelessness and despair. And terror,” Laurie says.
She screamed for help. Thankfully, Emery Benson wasn’t far away. The 12-year-old Boy Scout heard the scream and jumped into the fast-moving water without a second thought.
Emery couldn’t touch the bottom, so he swam over to Devon and basically bear-hugged him to keep him from struggling. Emery dragged Devon to the safety of a nearby rock so they could climb out.
Now, I should point out that The Boy Scout Handbook teaches proper water-rescue procedures: “reach, throw, row, go.”
First you reach for the victim, then throw something to them and then row a boat to them. Only after those three steps fail should you swim out to the victim — and even then you should only “go” if you’re properly trained. Why? The person is struggling and might pull you under. (For more info, review pages 196-199 of the Handbook.)
OK, so Emery’s jumping in the water right away might not have been the recommended procedure, but you can’t argue with the result: Devon is with us today because of Emery’s bravery.
For his actions, Emery received the Boy Scout Honor Medal. But the recognition for Emery’s incredible heroism doesn’t end there.
Emery on The Meredith Vieira Show
Emery was featured in the Thursday, Jan. 15, episode of The Meredith Vieira Show. (Watch the whole seven-minute segment here.)
Vieira invited Emery, Emery’s mom, Devon and Leslie to the show to recount their story.
“Emery was scared,” Vieira said, “but his Boy Scout training and some incredibly bravery kicked in, and somehow he pulled his friend out of the water.”
Emery didn’t save Devon for a medal or for a spot on a national TV show. And he didn’t do it for the free rock-climbing trip Vieira gave Emery and five friends.
He did it because he’s a Boy Scout, and bravery is what Boy Scouts do.