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Adam Kuhlman (left) shows off his National Certificate of Merit he received in recognition of his life-saving efforts last summer. He's pictured with his grandfather, Art Peterson.

Boy Scout honored for life-saving action

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Boy Scout Adam Kuhlman, 12, was prepared one day last July when he helped a struggling non-swimmer out of the deep end of an indoor hotel pool in Madison. Adam was able to calmly assess the situation and apply many of the skills he had learned in Scouting.

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After hearing his grandfather, Art Peterson, yell "Adam, get him!" from outside the pool, Adam immediately looked around the pool for signs of trouble. He noticed a boy he had been playing with in the shallower end of the pool a few minutes prior was now nearby in the deeper end of the pool experiencing difficulty staying afloat.

"At first I thought he was faking it, but then my grandfather yelled," Adam recalled.

Even though he had had no water rescue training, Adam swam over to the boy from behind and grasped the boy under his arm pits. Utilizing his legs to kick in the water, he was able to propel the boy and himself over to a nearby pool ladder.

The boy exited the pool on his own accord, unharmed, but a little shaken up by the incident. Adam and his grandfather later learned that the boy, 11, had jumped into the deep end of the hotel pool forgetting that he did not know how to swim.

A National Certificate of Merit was presented to Adam on April 1 at the Immaculate Conception Church, New Richmond, to recognize the scout's efforts.

"It's pretty cool," Adam said of the award. "I didn't think it was that big of a deal at the time, but now I know it was a big deal."

Ed Plant (BSA Eagle River District advancement chair) convened a National Court of Honor and was assisted by Steve Wojan (district chair), Mike Sietsema (district commissioner) and Kent York (Northern Star Council director of marketing/communications).

A recognition letter from Wisconsin State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Wisconsin State Representative John Murtha (R-Baldwin) was also presented to Adam. Fellow Scouts, leaders and family were in attendance.

Adam is a Life Scout with Boy Scout Troop 460, chartered to Kiwanis Club, New Richmond.

The Boy Scouts of America launched its medals program in 1911 to recognize Scouts and commissioned leaders who had saved a life. Today, The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America has four awards for lifesaving and meritorious action for outstanding and unusual acts that demonstrate unusual heroism, skill, or bravery the reflect Scouting ideals.

Certificates of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who performs a significant act of service that is deserving of special national recognition. The Boy Scouts of America awarded 53 certificates in 2012 and 1,698 certificates since 1989.

All of these awards are presented in the name of the Boy Scouts of America. In order for a Scout or Scouter to be honored with such an award, application must be made and approved by the BSA's National Court of Honor.

"This is a very prestigious award" said Scoutmaster and father Jeff Kuhlman. "I am very proud that my son was able to act on the Scout motto 'Be Prepared.' I believe Adam's Scouting experiences prevented something more serious from happening that day."

After first hearing that he had received the National Award, Adam mentioned to his father that he wished swimming lessons for the boy he helped came with the award.

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