A Tifton scout was recognized for his act of bravery and heroism at the South Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s annual recognition banquet, which was held Saturday evening at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village. Sixty-one Eagle Scouts, including several from Tifton, were recognized for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in 2013, and several adults from the surrounding area received leadership awards.
Matthew Collins was awarded the Medal of Merit, a very special award that’s not often presented. During the presentation, Eli Morgan, who serves the Boy Scouts of America as the area commissioner for Area 9, said the Medal of Merit honors scouts, venturers and scouts who have performed an act of meritorious service above and beyond what is normally expected of a youth or adult member of the Boy Scouts of America.
He explained that this act should demonstrate exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others. The act does not necessarily need to involve rescue or saving a life, but must demonstrate some aspect of scouting ideals or skills.
Morgan said on April 27 of last year, Collins visited the Battle of Selma Reenactment. While he and his father were working to unload a van, a driverless two-horse carriage passed by on the road. Someone in the distance yelled to “stop that carriage.”
“At that time, Matthew dropped what he was doing and sprinted to catch up with the carriage. He then jumped into the driver’s seat while it was moving and successfully stopped the horses only yards away from a crowded dining area,” Morgan said. “While Matthew has never had any training in horses, he utilized his scout skills and values and prevented a possible tragedy.”
On behalf of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Morgan presented Collins with the Medal of Merit by pinning the award on his uniform while the audience stood and applauded.