Unsung Hero: He saved older brother who sliced himself while cutting watermelon

Daniel (right) and Joshua Kevil
Daniel (right) and Joshua Kevil

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.


Daniel Kevil was at home with his older brother Joshua when he heard Joshua shout in pain.

Daniel ran to his brother and realized Joshua had accidentally cut himself in his upper right groin while slicing a watermelon. The wound was severe; doctors would later determine Joshua had hit his femoral artery, the main supply of blood to the thigh and leg. (A good reminder to always cut away from your body.)

Daniel, a member of Troop 280 of Parker, Colo., (Denver Area Council) knew exactly what to do next. Daniel has the First Aid merit badge, and his troop recently held a class covering Stop The Bleed, an initiative of the American College of Surgeons and Department of Defense.

“First aid is one of those things that you look at in Scouts and think you prepare too much for and probably won’t ever use,” Daniel says. “But after you have an experience that uses all of those skills, you have a new appreciation for all of the classes Scouts puts you through.”

After calling 911 and his mom, who called a neighbor, Daniel applied pressure to the wound. Using his entire body weight, he was able to slow the flow of blood.

The neighbor arrived five to 10 minutes later. Physically exhausted, Daniel told the neighbor what to do so he could give his arms a break. The neighbor compressed the wound until paramedics arrived moments later.

Joshua was transported by EMS to the hospital, where he needed four hours of emergency surgery and 10 units of blood. He has recovered completely.

For demonstrating remarkable calm and advanced first-aid skills, Daniel was awarded the Medal of Merit from his council in a ceremony held Jan. 6, 2020.

“I was the only one in the house at the time, and it was the right thing to do,” Daniel says. “There was a problem to be solved, and I had received the proper training through Scouts.”

Daniel (right) and Joshua at the ceremony where Daniel received the Medal of Merit.
Daniel (right) and Joshua at the ceremony where Daniel received the Medal of Merit.

Prepared for anything

Daniel says there’s no question where he learned the skills that saved his brother’s life.

“My training in Scouts helped me to know that I needed to keep my brother calm and out of any possible shock he could have been going through,” Daniel says. “I also knew that I needed to get help fast and had to put pressure on right away.”

Months earlier, Daniel had attended a 16-hour class on wilderness first aid. His troop also hosted a Stop the Bleed training class, which is available to anyone, typically for no fee. With that training cemented in his mind, Daniel knew just what to do.

“My advice for others who might encounter a situation like mine is prepare now so you don’t have to regret not paying attention in simple first aid classes,” Daniel says. “Scouts provides opportunities to train for emergency situations, and you can never be overprepared. Don’t take the training for granted.

“You never know when you might face your worst nightmare.”

Steps to Stop the Bleed

These are the four basic steps for treating serious bleeding injuries. This is just an overview; you’ll want to take the full training to know exactly when and how to use these steps.

  1. Call 911
  2. Apply pressure with hands
  3. Pack wound and press
  4. Apply tourniquet

Helpful resources

The BSA is committed to helping young people enjoy Scouting — and life — safely. Here are some Health & Safety resources worth sharing:

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.

Thanks to Matt Maranto of the Denver Area Council for the blog post idea

About Bryan Wendell 2984 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.