Article by Ann C. Piasecki
A New Lenox Boy Scout Troop lived up to the motto "Always be prepared" while in Palos Park last month.
Boy Scout Troop 44 was honored on Monday for helping a man who was thrown from his bike in a Palos Hills forest preserve. The troop received the Good Citizenship Award at the outset of the New Lenox Village Board meeting.
While on a five-mile hike as part of a project on July 14 at Red Gate Woods in Palos Park, the members of Boy Scout Troop 44, who range in age from 11 to 13 years old, encountered a man injured after falling off his mountain bike.
Scout Master Scott Dexheimer explained that all 13 troop members had arrived for an early morning hike when they encountered 47-year-old Andy Matthews, a regular mountain bike enthusiast from Evanston. The boys noticed that he was wobbly on his bike and needed help. The man stopped and said that he had hit a rock and was thrown. His eye was swollen and he was bleeding.
Dexheimer said the boys immediately began using the first aid skills they had learned previously. They assessed him for injuries and shock. They cleaned up his wounds and applied bandages. Matthews rested but declined an offer to seek an ambulance.
The Scout Master said the boys were up for the challenge. They knew what to do and responded responsibly.
Matthews, who attended the board meeting to thank the boys publically, said he hadn't realized how seriously was injured. It wasn't until two days after the accident that pain stirred him to seek medical assistance. Ultimately, Matthews said he discovered that his right eye socket and cheek were shattered and his nose was broken in several places. He required reconstructive surgery.
He told the boys, "I'm now the proud owner of 24 screws and three plates. What cheered me on was the thought of being assisted by the great bunch of young men from Troop 44 who came to my aid when I so sorely needed it.
"I joked with my surgeon afterwards that I was rescued by 20 Scouts all ready to what they could to make me more comfortable and administer what aid they could
"You are a great credit to Scouting and to young men everywhere."
He thanked the group again as Mayor Tim Baldermann presented the boys with their certificates.
The members of Troop 44 are: Nick Hill, Nathan Creech, Nick Ruskowsky, Anthony Rios, Ken Clarke, Jake Dyrkczk, Micha McBride, TJ Duracka, Bobby Pilipchuk, Kevin Dexheimer, Austin Wills, Will Lester and Michael Malloy.
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