Cure of Ars eighth grader Jake Whitmore was settling into an hour-long meditation session this summer as part of a series of tests at H. Roe Bartle Boy Scout Camp when he heard a thud.
It sounded serious enough that he went to investigate, and found a fellow scout laying on the ground and moaning. The boy had climbed up a tree and fallen several feet to the ground, striking his head on the way.
“There was a little bit of blood on his ear,” Whitmore remembers. “He was conscious, but he was just kind of groaning and didn’t really know where he was.”
Whitmore scrambled several yards away to the spot where his friend Matt Speight had been meditating. Speight stayed by their fallen fellow Scout at the bottom of the ravine while Whitmore when to alert the scout leaders.
The boy’s head injuries were serious enough that he had to be evacuated via medical helicopter to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where he remained in the intensive care unit for five days. He is, however, alive, and expected to almost fully recover from his injuries (he’s expected to have some permanent hearing loss) thanks to Whitmore and Speight’s quick work.
This week, leaders from the Boy Scouts of America Heart of America Council attended Troop 395’s meeting at Cure of Ars to present Whitmore and Speight with awards for their actions.
“I was worried for him, that’s for sure,” Speight said of the incident. “But I felt like we knew what to do.”