A 12-year-old boy scout is being recognized for helping rescue a couple who got lost while hiking in Hawaii back in August.
The couple, JD and Aimee, had only intended to go on an easy 2-mile hike with their dog, but they got turned around and ended up seven miles into the trail.
That might not have been too bad, but to make matters infinitely worse, it was getting dark, they had no extra food or water, their cellphone was dead, and their dog — a 100-pound pit bull named Smokey — had cut up his feet and was unable to continue, according to KITV-TV.
But they were about to be rescued: Boy Scout David King, 12, and his mother, Christine, ran into the stranded trio as they were three miles away from completing a 15-mile merit badge hike (impressive in its own right, especially since David had already played in a soccer game that morning).
The Kings could show the couple the way out, but that didn’t solve the issue of the gimpy pup, and their cellphones didn’t have service.
But David had an idea, recalling something his older brother, an Eagle Scout, once told him about.
“So we built them a stretcher using a, using a big tree branch that we broke in half and we used our shirts and like slid it on and used the armholes to fit the sticks through,” David told KHON-TV.
Mom wasn’t so sure, but it was worth a try.
“It was his idea to make the stretcher,” she said. “Because we didn’t think it was going to work because we didn’t think a dog would get on a stretcher. But the dog was so tired, Smokey, that he was just very happy to get on the stretcher and we just carried him out.”
Smokey must have sensed that salvation was nigh and was a good sport about getting up onto and remaining on the makeshift stretcher. Still, between the four of them, it was slow going lugging the large dog along the trail, and they had to take many breaks.
“It was really tough, but we rotated,” the 12-year-old said. “So sometimes we did four people, one on each side, or two on each side, and then go to two people — like my mom and the man — and then we’d go back, and then the dog would get off and walk some which was really helpful and let us relax.”
The whole group made it safely to the trailhead, and Smokey later received medical attention and is doing well.
Many people have commented to commend the boy and his mother, and to suggest that the hike he completed might be worth more than one merit badge.
While the couple was underprepared for the outing they had, no doubt they’ll be more prepared for next time — something that’s second nature for David.
“Make sure that whenever you’re doing an activity, always think of what can go wrong and how you can prevent it,” David said.
It was a big day for David, and his sense of accomplishment was doubled by being able to help others: “I think that when you help someone out it’s like there’s something, like joy in you, that’s just like, you know you did something good that day.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.