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Boy Scouts Wayne Mangham, right, and Stevie Bridwell, left. (Courtesy Photo)

Two local Boy Scouts saved a boy’s life after pulling him out of Arkansas waters

During a recreational vacation to Arkansas during Memorial Weekend, two Boy Scouts — 17-year-old peers Wayne Mangham and Stevie Bridwell — were inspired to action when they witnessed another teenager having difficulty staying afloat in the river.

Stevie and Wayne — in Boy Scout Troop 40 of Doyline and Troop 211 of Ringgold respectively — and their families went to Arkansas for their Memorial Day break with the purpose of canoeing, but for one boy it ended up being a life-saving decision.

The serendipity of the rescue began when the families were late to their canoeing session because one of their vehicles got a flat tire and they had to delay their launch. The next fortuitous decision made in the fateful rescue of one 15-year-old boy with cerebral palsy was when — instead of launching their canoes from Tyler’s Bend — they started canoeing from Grinder’s Ferry.

Because of the change of plans, by the time they were starting to launch off the two boys were able to recognize the younger teenager struggling in the water.

Regarding how instinctively the scouts reacted in saving the younger boy’s life, when asked how long it took them to jump into action to attempt the rescue, one of the boy scouts said, “It took about five or six seconds.”

Utilizing their comprehension in survival knowledge and water rescue — thanks to their experience with Boy Scout training — they were able to rescue the boy swiftly and efficiently by paddling him in a canoe, lifting him into it, and then escorting him safely to a bank of the river.

“The first thing that came into my mind was to get into the water,” Mangham told the Bossier Press-Tribune. “I felt like I had to do something.”

After their heroic act of bravery, the families were able to enjoy the rest of their leisurely trip with pride in the altruism they had displayed. Wayne’s mom, Brandi Mangham, says that the family is very proud of how well the two boys performed in saving a life that day.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA, colloquially the Boy Scouts) is one of the largest scouting organizations and one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with about 1.2 million youth participants. The BSA was founded in 1910, and since then, about 110 million Americans have participated in BSA programs. BSA is part of the international Scout Movement and became a founding member organization of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922.

The stated mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” Youth are trained in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations.

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