Cub Scout Daniel Weaverling had no thought of glory when he rushed to save his 14-month-old cousin from a serious fall off a high deck in December, but last night he received one of Scouting's highest awards for his action.
During Cub Scout Pack 630's monthly meeting, Daniel, 9, received the Medal of Merit from the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America. The Court of Honor ceremony was held at Westminster Elementary School.
He also received a U.S. Congressional Resolution and flag that flew over the Capitol from U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, and resolutions from state Del. Carmen Amedori and state Sen. Larry E. Haines, all Republicans.
The Medal of Merit, according to the BSA application, is given to Scouts who have "performed an act of service of a rare and exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others."
The incident occurred on Christmas at Wakefield Valley Golf and Conference Center's Brunch with Santa at Fenby's Restaurant. Daniel attended the event with family members, including his father, Charles Weaverling; sister Grace, 13; his aunt and uncle, Michelle and Ed Willoughby; and their baby son, Benjamin.
"The weather being mild for the time of year, the kids wanted to go outside, so a bunch of us went out on the deck," Charles Weaverling recalled. "The adults were standing by the doors, closer to the high end of the deck, and the kids were playing tag at the lower end."
Benjamin was with the adults, who were suddenly distracted by the elder children yelling.
"While we're looking at the other end of the deck, Ben decides he's going and heads toward the railing," Weaverling said. "Then we saw Daniel take off running and we looked down and saw him on the deck with his hands out, then we saw he was holding something."
Daniel was holding Ben's feet as the baby hung over the edge of the deck.
"I looked over and saw him crawling under the rail, so I ran over as fast as I could and grabbed him by the ankles because that was the only thing left of him and pulled him back up with all my strength," Daniel wrote in his report to the Court of Honor.
"I didn't know a kid could move so fast," Weaverling said. "The baby had squeezed under the bottom of the railing and was falling headfirst toward the hardtop below, 10 or 12 feet down."
Daniel, his father and uncle had to send a written report of the incident to the Boy Scouts of America's National Court of Honor in Texas with a recommendation from the Baltimore Area BSA Council 220 for the award.
"Daniel's alertness saved my son, not only [from] a nasty fall, but he may have even saved his life," wrote Ed Willoughby.
The Willoughbys and Ben could not attend the ceremony. The couple are stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Namibia, Africa.
Besides a certificate and medal, Daniel received a special knot to wear above his uniform breast pocket as long as he remains a Scout. He also was called a hero by John Bryan, vice chairman of the Carroll County district BSA who conducted the Court of Honor.
Surprised and almost speechless by the award, Daniel, who stood straight during the 15-minute ceremony, could only say that "I felt proud of myself" for saving Ben and receiving the award.
"I couldn't be more proud of him," Weaverling said, adding that Daniel is a third-generation Boy Scout.