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The South Georgia Council and the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America has presented the National Heroism Award to Scout John Burns Holton of Albany. Holton is the son of former Cairo resident, Angie Burns Holton and her husband, Robert Holton, and grandson of Bobby Burns and the late Becky Burns of Cairo. The award was presented Thursday, June 8, nearly one year after his heroic deed.
It was while canoeing on the Kinchafoonee Creek in Lee County on June 14, 2020, that Holton and other scouts and several of the scouts’ fathers, including Holton’s, were trying to go five miles to finish the Camping Merit Badge for Boy Scouts that Holton rescued a fellow scout.
When they came to a spot where they could jump from a bank into deep water, Holton and another scout jumped in from atop the bank.
In his description of the day, Holton writes that he jumped in a second time and a third scout jumped in, also, and they were swimming back to the bank when the other scout announced he was going to do a front flip into the water.
“When Davis jumped, he over did the front flip and belly flopped hard,” writes Holton.
The young man surfaced gasping, and Holton states that he heard someone say he was fine, but then Holton heard his father yell, “No, he’s not.”
The scout stopped moving, apparently knocked out by the hard crash into the water, and started sinking, Holton recalls.
Being the closest to the scout in distress, Holton swam to where he thought he went under, but he couldn’t find his friend.
Holton resurfaced and states he “saw little bubbles and went straight down where they were and found him about a foot or two under the water. As soon as I found him, I grabbed his closest arm and pulled him to the surface and held him at the surface.”
At this point, Holton states, he realized the scout was having seizure-type convulsions, and Holton’s dad arrived in a kayak. They held the distressed scout until he regained consciousness.
For his demonstration of heroism and skill in the saving of the life of another person, John Burns Holton received the National Heroism Award.
Holton is a member of Troop 1 of Albany, which is sponsored by the First Baptist Church of Albany.
South Georgia Council serves thousands of girls and boys in scouting in 28 counties in South Georgia. For more information on scouting in South Georgia go to https://www.sgcbsa.org/