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.
On a cold winter day last December, along a snow-covered stretch of Interstate 93 in New Hampshire, Kyle Dimick told his dad to pull over.
“I looked out the window and saw a Subaru SUV on its side,” Kyle says. “I told my dad that I thought someone was stuck in the vehicle.”
For the calm-headed actions he took next, moves later commended by law enforcement, Kyle received the Certificate of Merit from the Daniel Webster Council.
But when I contacted Kyle, he swears he was just doing what any Scout would do in his situation. And besides, he reminds us, Scouts should be helpful and kind every single day.
“There doesn’t have to be a crash or a disaster to help others,” he says. “You can make a difference on an everyday basis.”
But if you do find yourself helping out at the scene of an accident, you could do well to follow the example of this Eagle Scout from Troop 58 of Waterville Valley, N.H.
Sliding to a stop
The events in question happened near mile marker 101.4 in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
After Kyle’s dad slowly pulled over — sliding on a bit of black ice himself — Kyle first assessed his surroundings to make sure the spot along the shoulder was safe. Best to avoid worsening the situation if someone skidded into their car.
Convinced they were safe, Kyle and his mom jumped out of the car and began running through 6-inch snow toward the SUV, which had flipped into an embankment and landed on its passenger side.
“I wasn’t sure what I would find, but by the looks of it, I would have been happy if they were alive when I got there,” Kyle says.
As they approached, a man emerged from the SUV’s back window. Even from a short distance, Kyle could see a bloody bump forming on the left side of the man’s head.
“I asked if he was OK,” Kyle says. “He ignored me and ran to the driver’s door and tried to open it. It didn’t budge.”
Kyle told his mom to call 911 while Kyle, his dad and his sister helped open the driver’s side door. Inside was the passenger, a man who Kyle later found out was 58 years old with multiple sclerosis.
Kyle couldn’t see any visible injuries to the man. He walked around the SUV and neither saw nor smelled gas or oil, meaning the fire risk was minimal.
Deciding the safest course was for the man to remain in the SUV until help arrived, Kyle walked over to the driver to check on his injuries.
“I tried to get the driver to sit down because he looked like he had a bad head injury, but he wouldn’t listen,” Kyle says. “He found a pack of cigarettes and started puffing away.”
Unfazed, Kyle continued talking to the man for another five minutes. Eventually, the man began to calm down as his adrenaline levels lowered.
“You could tell that he was starting to feel a lot of pain,” Kyle says. “He lightly touched his head and jumped like he was shocked.”
Just then, a pair of police cars arrived. An ambulance followed a few minutes later.
The officers asked Kyle if he witnessed the accident. He told them that he hadn’t but was first on the scene and relayed what he knew.
The officers asked Kyle and his family to leave; they would take over from there. Kyle was later commended by those same officers for his calm mastery of the situation that could’ve ended up much worse.
This summer, upon learning of Kyle’s Good Turn, his council presented him with the Certificate of Merit.
Kyle’s advice to fellow Scouts
If you or your Scouts find yourself in a similar situation, follow Kyle’s advice:
- “Take in your surroundings before getting too close so you don’t become a victim instead of a responder.”
- “Take it step by step and remember any first aid or other training courses that you have taken that might be useful.”
- “Stay calm. People around you will be very stressed out, but don’t let that affect you.”
- “Call 911.”
- “Try to get the victims to stay still even if they are in shock and want to walk around. This can be very difficult because you don’t know how they will respond and they may not want to stay still.
- “I have always visualized what I would do in different situations, so when I saw the car crash I was able to go back and see what steps I should take.”
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:
- Send an email to me with the subject line “Unsung Heroes.”
- Include a detailed summary of the heroic act.
- 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.
- Include high-res photos of the Unsung Hero.
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