On his honor

Scouting award: One good turn earns another for 9-year-old who saved his 14-month-old cousin's life.

Bright Lights

November 06, 1999

HEROES come in all sizes. And ages. Like Daniel Weaverling of Westminster, a 9-year-old Webelos Cub Scout.

Daniel was recently awarded the national Medal of Merit from the Boys Scouts of America for the rescue of his 14-month-old cousin, Benjamin Willoughby, last December at a golf club event.

The toddler had quickly crawled under the rail of an outside deck and was close to tumbling head-first to a paved area 12 feet below. Young Weaverling ran toward Benjamin, dove at the rail, grabbed the boy's ankles and pulled him back up.

The incident happened so quickly that Daniel said he didn't have time to think about what he was doing.

He also doesn't remember too much about that day when lots of children were playing on the deck after a Santa Claus brunch. Adults were trying to keep track of the kids when young Benjamin quickly scrambled away unnoticed, except by Daniel.

Daniel's father hesitated to nominate his son for the Scouting award, feeling that helping others was expected as part of the boy's upbringing. Scouts, after all, are expected to do a good turn daily.

But Benjamin's father and other people persuaded him.

The gold Medal of Merit, and the special knot to wear on his uniform, were presented to Daniel at a Scout Court of Honor a week ago. He also got a flag that had flown over the Capitol and a congressional resolution of appreciation.

At the award ceremony, the impact of the event finally settled on Daniel. "I felt proud of myself," he admitted.

Daniel Weaverling may never again have that chance to save a life. But he was prepared when the emergency arose, and Benjamin Willoughby's family will be forever grateful. That is often the way with unexpected heroes.

Bright Lights spotlights people who make a difference in the quality of life in this area. It appears periodically in this column.

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