Scout wins award for pool rescue


January 12, 2000|By Donna Koros Stramella | Donna Koros Stramella,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BENJAMIN LAWLESS, senior patrol leader for Boy Scout Troop 474, sees the incident as "no big deal," even if it did bring him a Certificate of Merit from Scouting's National Court of Honor.

Last May, Benjamin, then 14, was skimming leaves from the deep end of a family friend's backyard pool. Although the weather was still a little cool for swimming, he was planning to test some new scuba equipment.

Benjamin was accompanied by his sister, Stephanie Shipman, and her daughter, 1-year-old Isabelle. While standing on the deck surrounding the pool, he heard a splash, and his sister screaming, "Ben, get the baby!"

Isabelle was face down in the water, and her uncle reacted quickly. He dived in and swept her up, lifting her onto the deck. After coughing up a mouthful of water, she was fine.

Although no other lifesaving measure was required, Benjamin was prepared -- the Scout is certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He says he is surprised by all the fuss but was glad to have been in the right place at the right time.

Benjamin lives in Glen Burnie with his parents, Stephen and Julie Lawless, and is home-schooled by his mother.

The Certificate of Merit was presented to him at a recent Court of Honor held by his troop. Several advancements in rank were also announced -- Benjamin, Matt Neal, John Hewitt and Zach Zwirlein were promoted to Life Scouts; Derek Church to Star rank; and Ryan Harris to Tenderfoot.

Information: Les Sieling, 410-768-9444.

Parent workshop

The guidance departments at Marley and Freetown elementary schools will join forces for a parent and caregiver workshop from 6: 30 to 7: 30 tonight in the Marley Elementary media center.

The evening will begin with a video, "How to Improve Your Child's Behavior in School," followed by a group discussion led by guidance counselors Connie Poussard of Marley and Carolyn Crawley of Freetown.

Strategies and techniques will be suggested for parents who have specific problems regarding their children's behavior. The counselors can also refer parents to other resources.

Light refreshments will be served. The school is located at 201 Marley Station Road. Information: 410-222-6414 or 410-222-6900.

Socks of another color

You've got to love school spirit day. If you're not familiar with such occasions, students arrive at school dressed according to a theme -- such as "inside-out day," when they wear clothes on the wrong side -- on purpose.

My mother was unsettled by a spirit day at my daughter's middle school. It was "pajama day," with students encouraged to attend school in the same clothes they had slept in the previous night.

The idea seemed worse than the reality. Since most teens wear long T-shirts and sweat pants to bed, their sporty outfits didn't look much different from the norm.

My youngest daughter was the height of fashion at her school's "mix and match day." She wore clashing colors, a skirt over a pair of jeans and unmatching shoes. One side of her hair was swept up in a braid and the other in a ponytail.

Her look reminded me, ever so slightly, of another member of our family. My husband once arrived at work in two differently colored socks -- one hunter green, one navy blue. Somehow in the dim light of the family room, I had matched the two, and I suspect there was another pair like that lurking in the bottom of his drawer.

He probably would never have noticed, but a fashion-savvy secretary quickly pointed out the faux pas. "Did you dress yourself this morning?" she asked.

But if I err again, at least I'm prepared. "Have a little work spirit," I'll say. "Today is mix and match day."

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