Appleton Boy Scouts receive Heroes Award for aiding after Amtrak crash

The scouts aboard the derailed train received the American Red Cross's top Heroes Award in the youth category
Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 7:21 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2022 at 8:43 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Wis. (WBAY) - The Appleton Boy Scouts who helped in the rescue effort after the Amtrak train derailment this past June in Missouri were honored Monday. As the American Red Cross honors local heroes, the scouts took the top honor in the youth category after a rescue that caught the entire country’s attention.

“Appleton Boy Scout Troops 12 and 73 were on a cross-country train trip when the train derailed in the middle of the night. In the chaos and pain, these boys exemplified the scout’s motto of Be Prepared,” Shawn Kiser of the American Red Cross said.

Four of the 15 scouts who were on that train when it crashed were present to receive the award at the Northshore Golf Club in Harrison.

The scouts were heading back to Appleton from a camp in New Mexico when their train collided with a dump truck at a crossing, causing the train to tip on its side, tossing passengers around.

The scouts jumped into action without hesitation. They helped people escape the wreckage. One scout even tried to save the life of the dump truck driver, who eventually died.

First responders at the scene said it was the scouts who kept people calm.

“I think it gives confidence, because I’ve never done stuff like this before, and knowing I do perform well under pressure in a real-life situation it’s helped me a lot. I like it,” Isaac Berken said.

“I’m just glad that these people were able to recognize us. Like, I personally wouldn’t have, but if they think that we did a great thing, I guess we did, and I’m just happy that they are doing this,” Elijah Schultz said.

Matt Poelzer, scout master of Troop 12, said, “We appreciate the recognition. I think it makes some of us a little bit embarrassed or uncomfortable sometimes, but we appreciate the recognition, and I think all of us, especially the adult leaders, are happy that it paints scouting in a very good picture too. It shows the importance of the scouting program.”

“We’re grateful for the opportunity. We’re grateful to the Red Cross for recognizing us. We certainly didn’t ask for this, but we’re thankful. We’re thankful for the opportunity,” Isaac added.

“It changed how I see my life, just trying to be grateful for everything I have. Things can change in an instant. You just never know,” Owen Tierney said.

The troop plans to have the display somewhere inside the church that sponsors them.