Unsung Hero: Bear Scout rescues 3-year-old who fell into frigid pond

This is Unsung Heroes, a Bryan on Scouting blog series celebrating under-reported acts of Scouting heroism. These are stories that don’t make national headlines — but should. That’s doubly true in this world that can always use more good news. Read the latest story below, and find instructions for sharing your own Unsung Heroes story at the end of the post.


While the older Cub Scouts took a hike for their Webelos Walkabout adventure pin, the younger siblings stayed behind and played on the playground.

Among them was Lucas Halderman, a 9-year-old Bear Scout from Pack 350 of Rolling Prairie, Ind., part of the BSA’s LaSalle Council.

On this crisp fall day, the younger kids quickly grew tired of the swings and slides. Lucas and two other Bear Scouts wandered down to the pond to look for turtles and frogs. They were joined by 3-year-old Billy (pseudonym).

Billy, a bundle of energetic curiosity, tried to grab a frog near the pond’s edge. He fell in.

Billy didn’t know how to swim and became completely submerged. Lucas, who heard the splash, rushed over and pulled Billy out of the frigid water.

“We’re really good friends,” Lucas later told me. “I had to save him. Why wouldn’t I save him?”

Lucas walked Billy — soaked, sputtering and covered in green algae — back to the adults. Other than being emotionally rattled by the incident, Billy was OK and made a full recovery.

For showing remarkable bravery without even a moment’s hesitation, Lucas received the National Certificate of Merit. The honor recognizes those who have performed significant acts of service that are deserving of special national recognition.

“Lucas proved that in the moment, he is a quick thinker and can be counted on in an emergency,” says Daisy King, Lucas’ proud mom.

Share your Unsung Heroes story

Stories like these brighten my day — especially because I know this kind of thing happens regularly in Scouting.

Here’s how to share the news of an Unsung Hero in your pack, troop or crew:

  1. Send an email to me with the subject line “Unsung Heroes.”
  2. Include a detailed summary of the heroic act.
  3. Include any “supporting documentation” you can. Examples include links to a story in your local newspaper, paperwork for a Scouting heroism award nomination or eyewitness accounts.
  4. Include high-res photos of the Unsung Hero.
About Bryan Wendell 2915 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.