Really Good Kids

“I started choking,” said Jennifer Yakubesan.

It was a typical evening. The family was eating supper before church, somewhere in the wilds of Macomb County, Michigan. It was spaghetti. The flagship food of functional, happy families everywhere.

“I couldn’t get it up…” says Jennifer. “I looked at my husband and my son, and I started to make this kind of patting on my chest.”

Enter Andrew. Thirteen years old. Tall. Baby face. Looks like a nice kid. A Boy Scout.

Jennifer was about to lose consciousness when she felt her son’s arms wrap around her. He wedged his fist below her sternum. He began squeezing.

The Heimlich maneuver is not simple. It requires strength. Place one clenched fist above navel. Grasp fist with other hand. Pull fist backward and upward, sharply. If this doesn’t work, go for chest compressions. If this doesn’t work, slap victim between shoulder blades.

If this doesn’t work, begin praying the Rosary.

The Heimlich didn’t work. So Andrew slapped his mother’s back. It was a hail Mary pass, but it saved her.

“I think someone was with me there,” said Andrew. “I don’t know if it was God—or something.”

Andrew was given the National Merit Award by the Boy Scouts.

Meantime, approximately six states away, Boy Scout Troop 1299, of Allen, Texas, was on a bus trip to Wyoming. Going to summer camp.

The boys were doing what all boys on buses do. Laughing. Hanging out. Making powerful smells.

They had a few days to kill in Yellowstone National Park. They had seen most of the park except a portion of the northern loop.

Which is where they were when it happened.

“We were on our way to lunch,” says Brian, an adult volunteer. “We were passing by these falls, and we were like, ‘Let’s just stop real quick and let the adults take some pictures,’”

They parked. Deboarded. Everyone’s dad stretched his respective lumbar region. A stranger ran up to the group and frantically asked if there was a doctor on the bus.

A doctor, no. Scouts, yes.

In moments, scouters were jogging the trail, ready to help a woman having an emergency on the trail. They found a lady lying in the dirt.

Cardiac arrest. A crowd of rubberneckers gathered around her. There was an off-duty nurse performing chest compressions.

“She’s not breathing,” the nurse shouted.

Scoutmaster Jason Duglosch fetched the automated external defibrillator (AED) from the bus.

Now, I’ll pause here. Because I can hear some of you asking, “Why did a bunch of average Boy Scouts from Texas have a piece of expensive portable medical equipment on their bus?”

The answer is: Because they’re Boy Scouts.

Today, the woman is alive and well. And she’s got quite a story to tell.

A few weeks later, in Claiborne County, Tennessee, Crystal Thacker took meds for a sinus infection and had an allergic reaction. One minute she was fine; the next, she was on the floor, dying.

“It almost felt like when your foot’s asleep,” she remembers, “…it was very hard to breathe.”

Crystal’s 16-year-old son, Stewart, knew his mother was in anaphylactic shock. He also knew what to do while first responders were en route. This is because Stewart is a Boy Scout. Troop 310. He has over 200 hours of medical training.

“I took an old blanket and other stuff on the porch and made sort of a sunroof shelter, and reapplied ice packs. And then the ambulance showed up.”

Stewart was presented with the National Certificate of Merit.

This kind of stuff happens every day, although you rarely hear about it. Yes, you hear plenty of other stuff about the Boy Scouts in the news. But it’s seldom good. This is partially why the Scouts are disappearing from the national landscape.

When I was a kid, there were roughly 5 million Boy Scouts on the planet. I was one.

Twenty U.S. presidents were Boy Scouts. John Wayne was a Scout. Neil Armstrong. Buzz Aldrin. Sam Walton. Hank Aaron. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, however, there are approximately 762,000 Scouts left in the U.S. The reason for this sharp decline isn’t important right now. I’m not here to raise issues. I’m not here to cause trouble. I’m not smart enough offer an enlightened opinion.

I do, however, want to deliver a message to any wayward kids who are thinking about joining the Scouts, but are unsure because their friends think being a Scout is nerdy and lame.

Being a Scout is a lot more than making wallets and building birdhouses.

The Boy Scouts of America save lives.


  1. Buddy Caudill - November 10, 2022 6:59 am

    I was a Boy Scout, as well. I’m 7: now.
    I still try to adhere to the motto :
    “Be Prepared “ !

  2. Susie - November 10, 2022 7:13 am

    My husband is an Eagle Scout and he comes in handy!

  3. Debbie - November 10, 2022 7:14 am

    So sweet and heartwarming to think of such brave, good boys. 🤗❤️ However, the decline in membership is sadly indicative of our world today. So sad. Prayers for the children of America, for so many reasons. 😢🙏

  4. Julia - November 10, 2022 8:16 am

    Thank you so much Sean. For being a Boy Scout. My husband was one too. I love the Scouts. I appreciate you.

  5. Norman Anderson - November 10, 2022 8:27 am

    Scouts helps make boys better men. The life skills I learned in Scouts still serve me well to this day, 50 years later.

  6. Jimmy Stewart - November 10, 2022 10:13 am

    Boy Scouts always run to the problem. Proud to be an Eagle Scout class of ‘76.

  7. Ann - November 10, 2022 10:44 am

    We definitely need more like these young men…our country will have a. much stronger foundation if we can get positive information out and give the young people the opportunity to excel in areas they don’t know exist….it’s a wonderful organization.

  8. Barbara - November 10, 2022 10:49 am

    Thanks for shining light on the good things that don’t make the news.

  9. Julie - November 10, 2022 11:28 am

    Thank you Sean. Thank you for focusing on the positive.

  10. Liza Bragg - November 10, 2022 11:30 am

    Lovely reminder!
    Thanks, Sean!

  11. Melissa Norman - November 10, 2022 11:57 am

    Amen!!! The skills I learned as a Scout Leader have served me well! Both of our sons were scouts so my husband and I decided we had to be leaders. The boys in our troop still call me Mom to this day though some are in their 30’s. It was the best family program through our school that put God, Family and Country in the right prospective. I can’t wait for my 3 year old grandson to be a Tiger Cub so that I can participate, again!!! God Bless America!!! Thanks Sean for another great story!!!

  12. Matt Ovaska - November 10, 2022 12:14 pm

    On my honor I will do my best to serve God and my country (including LA , lower Alabama)
    I scout is reverent.
    I earned a God and Country merit badge as a scout.
    As a scoutmaster. I had scouts run up to my truck upon arrival to a meeting to show me their achievements (and gain approval from a father figure). 30 years later my neighbor thanked me for getting him to join the scouts.
    I know why the numbers are down. So sad…

  13. Robert Bowling - November 10, 2022 12:31 pm

    Right on target Sean5 years ago. I’m a proud Eagle Scout and I’m still using some of the skills I learned over 65 years ago. Thank you for speaking a good word about Boy Scouts.

  14. Cindy - November 10, 2022 12:40 pm

    This grandmother of an Eagle Scout appreciates your story!

  15. GARY - November 10, 2022 12:46 pm


  16. Donna Powell - November 10, 2022 12:57 pm

    My adult son was a Boy Scout years ago and attained the rank of Eagle. He married and had two sons. I so wished for those boys to follow in their dad’s footsteps. But, only one of them did – and I am so proud! Ian is in his last year of Cubs and talks about being in Scouts all the time. No – he has not saved a life but I feel so assured that in time, he will see that these important years in his life are shaping him to be able to help whatever comes in his path. My son has not saved a life but knows what to do and learned so much in Scouts that it has carried with him into adulthood. (I will note that I was a den leader for my son for three years and I think that my participation helped a great deal with him remaining in Scouts as he got older – so parental participation is a must to keep the boys interested!).
    Thank you for acknowledging Boy Scouts especially since they have gotten a bad rap in the last several years.

  17. Belinda - November 10, 2022 1:04 pm

    Family of scouts right here say “yes yes yes”. Thank you for your support. Scouting was a family venture and our boys are the better for it, for the adventures they shared with their dad, scout buddies and numerous other involved fathers.

  18. Nellie McCabe - November 10, 2022 1:26 pm

    Also at the Amtrak derailment in Mendon Missouri this past spring 2022 there were Boy Scouts.

  19. Leslie Anne Tarabella - November 10, 2022 1:30 pm

    You are so right! One of my most controversial, yet wildly popular columns was, “Boy Scouts are for boys.” I heard from high-ranking men all over the country who wholeheartedly agreed they achieved success in large part to The Boy Scouts of America.

  20. Eagle Scout Dad - November 10, 2022 1:38 pm

    Former scout in the super seventies, former Scoutmaster, current district commissioner, and proud father of an Eagle Scout…yes, scouting is under attack, but I say, scout on…!

  21. Jackye Thompson - November 10, 2022 1:44 pm


  22. Jane - November 10, 2022 1:45 pm

    Make it safe and cool to be a scout again!

  23. Wanda Vincent - November 10, 2022 1:50 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️❤️ Heroes !!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  25. Rhett Talbert - November 10, 2022 2:00 pm

    Damn right!

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  27. Jean Scott - November 10, 2022 2:15 pm

    Great story! My niece is a scout and loves it. She is 10 lives in Stone Mountain Ga Her mother is one of the Scout leaders!

  28. Maggie - November 10, 2022 2:34 pm

    The Boy Scouts in my neighborhood just had a food drive and we need some positive things going on now a days! Thank you for highlighting the good.

  29. Cynthia - November 10, 2022 2:36 pm

    The Boy Scouts served our family well!!!! Two of our sons are Eagle Scouts, one is Life. My husband has been involved throughout the years, including serving on district boards. Our daughter was always envious of her brothers, but today she is a leader of an all-girl troop. Our 13 year old granddaughter is having a WONDERFUL experience and just made Life Scout. Scouts have evolved with the times and the skills they learn are relevant and valuable. Her girls are so motivated!! One of the most important gifts scouts receive is a love and respect of the outdoors and self confidence. My husband and our boys all went to Philmont and it is one of the best memories for all of them.

  30. Patricia Gibson - November 10, 2022 2:46 pm

    Absolutely true and perform many good deeds❤️

  31. Roxanne - November 10, 2022 2:59 pm

    Proud wife of an Eagle Scout, and proud mother of a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient (equal to Eagle) and Eagle Scout recipient.

  32. Marianna - November 10, 2022 3:17 pm

    I’m from Allen, TX! I probably know some of the kids who were on that bus, but I’ve never heard about this. God bless Scouts!

  33. Joyce Owens Byrd - November 10, 2022 3:52 pm

    My first born grandson is working on becoming an Eagle Scout!! By nature, he is a beautiful soul, training by his Mom, my daughter, to love Hod and others!!

  34. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - November 10, 2022 3:54 pm

    Thank you for this. Boy Scouts hasn’t always gotten good press. They do a lot of good and help build young men’s character!

  35. Stacey Wallace - November 10, 2022 4:03 pm

    May God bless the Boy Scouts of America. Thanks for this story, Sean. Love to you, Jamie, and Marigold.

  36. Linda Moon - November 10, 2022 5:17 pm

    I think the terms ‘nerdy’ and ‘lame’ are really compliments in disguise for good kids like these Scouts. Thank God for them, and I hope He messages up many more of them!

  37. Craig - November 10, 2022 5:40 pm

    “Boy Scouts save lives.” Well said Sean, well said.

  38. mccutchen52 - November 10, 2022 6:00 pm

    I think a boy scout is like being a Marine. Once a Marine always a Marine. Once a Boy Scout always a Boy Scout. I am 70 years old and memories are slowly fading but my memories of camping, learning to cook on an open fire along with building a fire. I even went with a group from ,my area and spent ten days on the lakes in Canada. Paddling, fishing and seeing the sights all the while portaging from one lake to the other along with taking care of each others bumps and bruises. My memories of the Boy Scouts were GREAT. Thanks for shaking the cobwebs out of my brain.

  39. Betty - November 10, 2022 6:01 pm

    Wish this could be posted everywhere. Instead of modeling arguing about a myriad of things, adults can show our boys (and girls) to have fun and to make a real difference. Adult volunteers are vital to the Scouting program! Interested? Contact your local council. Proud of our newest Eagle (granddaughter) and all the hard work she and all the other Eagles put in to accomplish that rank.

  40. okieplum - November 10, 2022 6:06 pm


  41. Paula Ann Loftis - November 10, 2022 6:06 pm

    My husband was a Boy Scout and his mother a den mother. I think she enjoyed it more than he did and often spoke of those years. Saves lives but also teaches good values. Thank you for this article.

  42. LIN ARNOLD - November 10, 2022 7:31 pm

    Girl Scouts, too!

  43. MAM - November 10, 2022 7:45 pm

    Well, I will dive into the issues. I was a very proud Girl Scout, as was my Mom, who had a wonderful story to tell with opportunities, and so do I, but they’re way too long. My husband, too, was a Boy Scout, which opened avenues for him. The reason no one is joining the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts is because the organizations have gone “woke,” and at the same time, they are called nerdy. Woke’s a word I detest. Because all it does is separate us and make the good people look bad. That’s all I’ll say. Thank goodness there are still good, well-trained Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but definitely not enough of them!

  44. Matthew M. Johns - November 10, 2022 8:37 pm

    Thanks for a great article. I’m an old Eagle Scout. As a young adult, I dislodged my mother-in-law’s dinner from her throat using the Heimlich maneuver. I don’t recall actually thinking about what needed to be done. It was pure instinct and action, from lessons learned years earlier, as a Boy Scout. Or Divine intervention. Probably both, now that I think about it.

  45. Jerilyn Blom - November 11, 2022 12:14 am

    Excellently written, Sean! I am downright crying my way through this.

  46. Slimpicker - November 11, 2022 5:01 am

    Sean, I believe the main reason Boy Scouts numbers are declining is the organization has strayed away from some Christian values. That is way the scouting organization Trail Life USA was started and growing every year.

  47. John Townes - November 11, 2022 3:43 pm

    You are so right Sean! I am an Eagle Scout and I hate to see the decline in the Boy Scouts. Good troops are still out there teaching boys (and girls now) about life and being prepared for it. So many kids don’t get that at home. Love your articles! Always positive!


  48. Durand - November 13, 2022 4:35 am

    Thank you so much! My husband and son are both Eagle husband is still involved. ❤️

  49. Marie Crine - November 14, 2022 4:54 pm

    I love this !!! You see I was the one with a soft heart … I became a SCOUT leader and was blessed with precious memories of those little RASCALS.. We were a fun loving, eating, building and praying group of Cub Scouts.. many of those fellas became EAGLE SCOUTS… We all stayed together as a group until the Camping out phase . I gave them to willing Fathers, looking for ADVENTURE !!! You see Mrs. Marie doesn’t do Reptiles or Amphibious 🤓🇺🇸 Outings …Thank you for all of your Writing and Blessings …


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