Michael Cunningham, a 14 year old Star Scout from Hatboro Troop 81, was presented the Boy Scouts of America’s National Medal of Merit at his troop’s court of honor on Monday, September 22, 2014. The National Medal of Merit is presented to a Boy Scout for “an act of service of rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.” The BSA National awards for lifesaving and meritorious action are made only for outstanding and unusual acts that demonstrate unusual heroism, skill, or bravery and reflect Scouting ideals.
On October 10, 2013, Michael was at home when he heard a choking noise come from his stepfather, Robert Bustard. He looked toward the kitchen and observed his stepfather fall to his knees while holding his throat, as he was choking on a piece of sandwich and could not breathe. Mike called upstairs for his mother (who could not hear him), then ran to his stepfather’s side and put to use his Boy Scout first aid training by kneeling on the ground behind him and putting his arms around his torso to perform the Heimlich maneuver. On his twelfth attempt the piece of food dislodged from his stepfather’s throat, saving his life. Mike then stayed by his stepfather’s side and calmed him down.
Michael remained calm in an emergency situation, taking action and putting to use the life saving skills he was taught to save another person’s life.