Lifesaving & Meritorious Action Awards

National awards for lifesaving and meritorious action are made only for outstanding and unusual acts that demonstrate unusual heroism, skill, or bravery and reflect Scouting ideals. Recognition may be given to any member of the Boy Scouts of America, Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Venturer, or adult leader. There are two levels of awards – Lifesaving Awards and Meritorious Action Awards.

 

All applications should be submitted to the National Court of Honor through the local council using Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award.  The National Court of Honor will determine which type of recognition shall be given. Recipients of these awards must have been registered members of the Boy Scouts of America at the time the action was performed. Awards are made in the name of the Boy Scouts of America.

 

“Heroism” is defined as conduct exhibiting courage, daring, skill, and self-sacrifice.

“Skill” is defined as the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively in execution or performance. Special attention is given to skills earned in Scouting.

Lifesaving Awards:

Lifesaving awards may be presented with the evidence shows that the indiviudal saved or attempted to save life under circumstances that indicate heoism and risk of his or her own life. These awards are:

 

Honor Medal With Crossed Palms

The Honor Medal With Crossed Palms may be awarded in exceptional
cases to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated
unusual heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving
or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self.


• Cumulative awards since 1924: 277

Honor Medal

The Honor Medal may be awarded to a youth member or adult
leader who has demonstrated unusual heroism and skill in saving
or attempting to save a life at considerable risk to self.


• Cumulative awards since 1923: 2,354

Heroism Award

The Heroism Award, formerly the Certificate of Heroism, may be
awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has demonstrated
heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save a life at minimum
risk to self. The action taken need not involve attempts of rescue or
risk to self, but must put into practice Scouting skills and/or ideals.


• Cumulative awards since 1923: 6,077

The court will give consideration to resourcefulness and to demonstrated skill in rescue methods. In no case shall recognition be given where it appears that the risk involved was merely in the performance of duty or the meeting of an obligation because of responsibility to supervise and give leadership to the person or people whose lives were saved. It shall be wholly within the discretion of the National Court of Honor to determine from evidence presented which lifesaving award, if any, shall be made. Awards are issued in the name of the Boy Scouts of America.

Meritorious Action Awards:

Meritorious Action Awards may be presented when the evidence shows that a significant or outstanding act of service of exceptional character was performed. The awards are:

Medal of Merit

The Medal of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult
leader who has performed some outstanding act of service of a
rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree
of concern for the well-being of others.


• Cumulative awards since 1945 : 6,229

Certificate of Merit

The National Certificate of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult
leader who has performed a significant act of service that is deserving of special
national recognition.


• Cumulative awards since 1989: 1,698

Council Certificate of Merit

The Council Certificate of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult
leader who has performed a significant act of service that is deserving of special
council recognition but does not qualify for the National Certificate of Merit.

 

The action taken need not involve attempts of rescue or risk to self but must put into practice Scouting skills and/or ideals. Recognition shall not be given where it appears that the action involved was merely in the performance of duty or the meeting of an obligation.

Nominating Procedure:

  • All Applications for the Lifesaving and Meritorious Action Awards are to be submitted to the Volunteer Service Center (at the Program Center). 
    • ALL Submittals must be originals and not copies or Scanned versions.
  • All applications received at the Volunteer Service Center (at the Program Center) will need to have the applicant Scout/Scouter’s BSA registration verified as active at the “time of the action”.
  • The Scout/Scouter’s BSA Membership number, Unit Number, and District, will be added to the packet via a cover sheet containing this information. The Program Center will give the original application/package to the appropriate Program Center Assistant, who will log in the application and make an electronic copy.  An electronic copy will be sent to the Council Lifesaving and Meritorious Awards Chairperson, for processing/investigating and validating the request for the award.

Resources:

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AAC Life Saving & Meritorious Action Process 27.80 KB downloads

Atlanta Area Council Advancement Committee Guidelines and Procedures for Lifesaving...