Just one day before his 18th birthday, Matthew Qualls of Troop 36 was awakened on Wednesday, August 15th to screaming coming from his neighbor, Dale’s apartment backyard. He looked out the window and saw smoke. Matthew then grabbed a hammer and broke into the fire extinguisher case in the hallway of the apartment building and ran next door. He entered the home and ran to the fire to assist putting it out, after his neighbor stated she didn’t know how to use one. Matthew then instructed her to call 911, which she stated another neighbor was already doing. He was focused on keeping the fire from going up the walls when the extinguisher ran out. Out to the hallway he ran again, grabbing another extinguisher. He kept this up until the fire department arrived on scene.
There are seven families who live within the units and would be without a home if not for Matthew’s intervention. Neighbor Dale stated, “Thank God for your son in helping me put the majority out! What a Boy Scout!” Matthew’s ability to handle this situation calmly and efficiently was a direct result of the training instilled to him by the Boy Scouts. After taking the Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge, First Aid, and overhearing his mom teach Crime Prevention, Matthew became one prepared Scout! “I knew where everything I needed in an emergency was because I am in the Scouting program.”
Besides learning lifesaving techniques, this newly 18-year-old is very into the great outdoors, having gone to over 150 campouts! He especially appreciates the trust put into the youth in the Scouting program. He states, “We are allowed to fail. In life, we are competing and have to succeed; in Scouting, our failures are also our successes.” We at the Orange County Council know you have truly succeeded!