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Act of Heroism Earns Wesley Reed the Medal of Merit

What would you do if perfect strangers were in the face of danger, yet helping them could be perilous to your own life? It is a tough call, but one Benton Middle School eighth grader and Boy Scout Wesley Reed made without hesitation, earning him a national recognition award for meritorious service. 

While in Hawaii for a family member’s wedding, Reed and his brother were riding the ocean waves on boogie boards when he noticed a father and son in deeper water, struggling to swim back to shore. The current was strong in the riptide and they were close to the rocks, making the waves even stronger. The mother tried to help, but she was also struggling. Reed swam out to the family of three and gave them his boogie board so they could float and keep their heads above water, scaring his own mom out of her wits as she watched it all unfold. 

“Wesley was out in deep water with strong waves without any flotation device. He is a pretty good swimmer, but it was scary nonetheless,” his mother, Tracy Reed, said. “I swam out to try to help Wesley back in, but Wesley ended up being able to get back in on his own. The waves were so strong I even struggled to get back in and I am a good swimmer. I used to be a lifeguard!” 

His mom further added, “There were probably 20 adults on the beach who saw what was happening and no one did anything to help the family except for Wesley. When I asked Wesley later about what happened, he said something like ‘I knew they needed help and I knew that they needed the boogie board more than I did. So, I gave it to them to help them get back to safety. It was the right thing to do.’” 

Reed’s act of bravery caught the attention of the Boy Scouts of America, in which he is a member of Troop 113, and recently earned him national recognition. The Medal of Merit was awarded to Reed, an honor given to Scouts that have performed an act of meritorious service above and beyond what is normally expected of a youth or adult member of the Boy Scouts. While the action does not necessarily need to involve a rescue or saving someone’s life, it must reflect an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others and demonstrate some aspect of Scouting ideals or skills. 

Reed’s act of bravery checked all of those boxes and not only earned him respect and recognition among his peers and the Scouting organization, but the lifelong gratitude of that family of three.  Scout’s honor.