Scout receives heroism award for life-saving action

A Boy Scout from Carroll County was honored this week with a national heroism award for actions he took last year to save his mother when she was kicked in the head by a horse.

Shawn Johnson, 14, of Finksburg, was scheduled to receive scouting's Heroism Award at a ceremony June 16 at the Baltimore County Agriculture Center as part of the Boy Scouts, Baltimore Area Council, annual awards.

Shawn is an Eagle Scout and a member of Troop 9, which is based at Emory United Methodist Church, in Upperco.

According to the scouting award documentation, Shawn provided first aid and treatment for shock to his mother, Deborah Gottlick, in August 2010 after she was severely injured from a blow to head from a horse.

In her statement about the incident — submitted to the scouting council for review —Gottlick said she, Shawn and her god-daughter had been visiting the farm in Finksburg where they keep twohorses when the incident occurred.

According to Gottlick, she was standing amid several horses when one bit another, and the bitten horse reacted by kicking both of her legs up and outward.

"I vaguely remember watching both of her hooves coming towards my head," Gottlick wrote.

Shawn wrote that he was walking back to the family car when he heard the commotion and turned to see his mother on the ground in the middle of the herd.

He pulled his mother, who was unconscious, from the area and moved her to the car. He wrote that he saw she was bleeding from her head, and so he called 911 and used his shirt to apply pressure.

He said she then regained consciousness and said she wanted to go home, but he determined she was in shock and made her lie down.

"I remember looking down at the front of my shirt and it was just covered in blood," Gottlick said in her statement. "Shawn helped me to lay down, as he calmly told me that the ambulance will he here soon."

Shawn wrote that he used his mom's purse to elevate her feet, and told Gottlick's god-daughter to wait by the main road for the ambulance to guide it to the field.

Once paramedics arrived, they took over and transported Gottlick to Baltimore's Sinai Hospital, where she received 10 stitches and spent several days in the intensive care unit.

"I was told by the doctor that I was the hospital's first patient that they had treated that had been kicked by a horse," Gottlick said. "Typically people do not survive such an accident.

"The doctor began to tell me that Shawn ... had saved my life by acting so quickly with his first aid training."

"I am grateful for all of the training I received with the scouting program," said Shawn. "My mom is a single mom, and I could not imagine my life without her."

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