A local Cubscout was honored this week with one of the rarest awards the Boy Scouts of America offers—a Heroism Award. They are only given to recognize an attempt to save a life, and out of approximately 2.7 million registered scouts in 2011, only 141 received this national award.
In 10-year-old Todd Chandler’s case, it was given because he jumped into a pool to save the life of a girl even younger than himself.
The incident happened over a year ago, at a pool party given for Daisy Girl Scouts at the home of Butch and Kelly Evans. Six-year-old Ellison Jackson fell into their below ground saltwater pool, and Todd, then eight years old, was quick to respond.
“We’d told all the kids to come out of the pool, because we were about to serve a snacks,” said Todd’s mother, Melissa Chandler. “We heard a splash, and we heard Todd holler ‘save Ellison’!” Immediately afterwards, Todd dove into the water and pulled the struggling girl to the side of the pool.
It’s taken many months for the application process to work its way through the BSA (Boyscouts of America) ranks, and for the Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award to be officially conferred.
A presenting ceremony was held on Tuesday, October 23 at Lafayette Church of Christ. Presenting the award was Doug deLong of the BSA, a retired Navy Captain and Walton Trail District Commissioner for the Middle TN Council. “I’ve been in scouting for 64 years and that was the first time I’ve given this award,” said deLong. “I think that young man is well on his way to having a great life, in scouting and everywhere he goes. Great kid.”
Present were TN Senator Mae Beavers, TN Representative Kelly Kiesling, and Macon Mayor Shelvy Linville, as well as friends and family. Beavers brought a State Proclamation praising Chandler’s “incomparable maturity, strength, and courage in the face of danger,” saying that he “deserves proper recognition for his heroism.”
Todd is the son of Tony and Melissa Chandler, and grandson of Nancy and Eddy Parrish, Linda Chandler, and the late Ray Chandler.