ScoutingNovember - December 2002

You Can Count on a Scout

Illustrations By Joel Snyder

There are a lot of things a person can count on. For instance, there are the upcoming holidays. In November and December, the wintertime holidays arrive on our doorsteps—ready or not. We look forward to them with anticipation and excitement.

On May 24, 2000, a 16-year-old in Seattle, Wash., Toshio Kurose, also looked forward to something: an afternoon of swimming with three friends off a boat docked in Portage Bay.

Upon diving into the bay from the boat, though, Toshio and friend David Richey immediately received a powerful, steady jolt of electricity. The electric current in the water also charged the metal stepladder on the side of the boat. Disoriented and stunned, with muscles vibrating, David managed to swim to the dock. In doing so, he noticed that the most charged area in the water was around the boat's prop.

Once on the dock, David looked for Toshio in the water, but didn't see him. Yelling to a third boy to call paramedics, David dove back in, avoiding the boat's prop area. Ten to 12 feet down, he spotted his unconscious friend. David used a lifesaving hold to bring Toshio to the dock, where a fourth friend helped him get the still-unconscious 180-pounder out of the water. David was poised to begin CPR when Toshio, very disoriented, began to come to. Only later was it learned that a corroded, submerged electrical outlet in the ground near the water had caused the electrical field to form.

Eagle Scout David Michael Richey, then a Life Scout, was presented the Honor Medal With Crossed Palms. Toshio and David, friends before the incident, are best friends today.

David Richey at a Lifesaving merit badge class, 1998.

It's very stirring to hear about a lifesaving rescue like that of Toshio Kurose by David Richey. But beyond the rescue—which was wonderful—was the fact that David Richey was prepared by caring Scouting volunteers to use skills he had learned as a Boy Scout to keep a cool head in dangerous circumstances. Not only did David learn how to swim at Scout camp, but it was the rescue hold he learned while earning the Lifesaving merit badge that enabled him to tow his 6-foot-2 friend to safety.

We began by saying that there are things you can always count on—like the holidays. And as Toshio Kurose found out—in a crisis, you can count on a trained Scout. And Scouts can always count on you, the Scouters who train them.

There has never been a greater need for Scouting than now. We thank you for your leadership by example, for educating children, for standing for values and faith, thereby strengthening families.

Our earnest wish is for you and your families, loved ones and friends, to have the happiest holiday season ever. You can count on us in 2003 to support you in your mission of equipping the young people of America with the tools they need to meet the great challenges of today and tomorrow.

Roy S. Roberts

Roy L. Williams
Chief Scout Executive

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