12-year-old David King was three miles away from completing a 15-mile hike for a Boy Scouts merit badge when the unthinkable happened. He and his mom, Christine King, came across a couple with a 100-pound Pit Bull on the Hawaii hiking trail. The dog was laying on the ground, and the couple looked distraught. They had gotten lost far from the park’s entrance, and their dog named Smokey got injured along the way.
At that moment, all of David’s Boy Scout training paid off. He came up with a brilliant idea to bring the couple and their dog to safety. Without his help, they would’ve likely been trapped out there overnight.
A Job for a Boy Scout
There are several different trails off the Waimano Trail in Oahu. The couple, JD and Aimee, had planned on taking an easy path with Smokey. But all it took was one wrong turn for them to become completely lost. Along the way, Smokey scratched up his paws so bad that he couldn’t walk without hurting himself. The cell phone they had with them was dead, so they had no way to call for help.
The couple didn’t have any extra food or water. Smokey was also 100 pounds, making him too heavy to carry. So, they were relieved when they finally ran into David and his mom. Unfortunately, they had no cell service and also couldn’t lift the dog. All they could do was show the couple which way to go, which didn’t help the injured pup. But then, David came up with a brilliant idea using skills from his First Aid merit badge.
“We built them a stretcher using a big tree branch that we broke in half and used our shirts and slid it on using the armholes to fit the sticks through,” said David.
At first, Christine was unsure of her son’s unique plan, but it seemed to be their only option. Everyone worried that Smokey wouldn’t be willing to stay on the stretcher, but the dog was so tired that he happily cooperated.
The Most Memorable Merit Badge
Since there was no way to call for help, the four humans made their way down the remaining three miles of the trail with Smokey. They took turns carrying the dog on the stretcher, stopping to take a break now and then.
“It was really tough, but we rotated,” David said. “Sometimes we did four people, two on each side, two people — my mom and the man — and then the dog would get off and walk some which was really helpful and let us relax.”
As soon as they made it off the trails, the couple got Smokey the medical attention he needed. David completed the 15-mile hike for his merit badge, but he went above and beyond the requirements. Some people believe he should earn more than one merit badge for using his Boy Scout skills to help someone.
David reminds everyone to be prepared on hiking trips. Knowing the route and packing food and water are two essential parts of hiking. David also says that you should consider what might go wrong and find ways to prevent that beforehand.
“I think that when you help someone out it’s like joy in you that just like you know you did something good that day,” David said.