APPLETON, Wis. — The boy scout motto “Be Prepared” rang true for the Appleton scouts of troops 12 and 73 who were in the Amtrak Train Derailment in Mendon, Missouri.
The boys used what they learned and sprang into action to help injured passengers in their time of distress. They never hesitated to put the needs of others before their own.
Henry Gadzik, a scout from troop 73, says, “I’m wearing this uniform. People expect me to know what to do and to help others and [I knew] that’s the role I have to play right now. I have the power to help people and I need to do it.”
Amanda Boardman’s son Harrison is a scout who was on the train, along with his father Julian. When she found out about what happened, she was terrified: “A lot of stuff went through my mind. It’s just been hard.”
When she heard that her family was safe and that they stepped in to help others, Boardman was thrilled, saying “It’s amazing. Like I am incredibly proud of both of them. It doesn’t surprise me [that they helped] because that’s who they are.”
Matt Schultz, one of the boy scout leaders, is also proud of the scouts’ heroic efforts. Schultz says, “It certainly makes you proud as a parent to know that they didn’t have to have their hand held throughout the whole thing. None of these boys did. Even the boys who had their fathers that were severely hurt, none of them lost their cool. They all kept composure.”
None of the scouts were seriously injured, but this experience has undoubtedly changed their lives forever. Schultz’s son Elijah is a scout and he says, “It really can happen at any time, these emergencies, these incidents. No one is really ever truly safe. There’s kind of the feeling that there wasn’t anything we could have done to stop it. All that matters is that you had to be prepared for it.”