Quick thinking and Scouting skills helped avoid tragedy on a southern Ozark river. On June 20, 2015, Eagle Scout and Olathe East High School senior, Nate Reichmuth, set out on a rafting trip to the Black River in southern Missouri with family and friends. A heavy rain the night before made for less than ideal conditions, leaving the water levels much higher than usual. No more than fifteen minutes into their trip, a raft carrying family friends, Brett and Janette Miller, became entangled in a large fallen log in the middle of the river. The raft soon tipped, spilling the Miller family into the water with the strong current pinning them against the log.
Nate’s father jumped into the water in an attempt to rescue the family, but the current was too strong and quickly swept him downstream. After making sure his father was alright, Nate took matters into his own hands and put the skills he learned in Scouting to work. He waded carefully into a shallow part of the river upstream and let the current carry him to the Millers still clinging to the log. Upon reaching them, Nate calmed the couple down and then ushered them to the edge of the log. Once others in the party arrived back on the scene, Nate instructed the Millers to let the current carry them downstream. One by one, all three carefully pushed away from the log, floated downstream, and safely reached the shore where they were pulled from the river.
For his bravery and quick thinking, Nate Reichmuth will be presented with the BSA’s Lifesaving Award, a rare honor that recognizes Scouts who have performed an act of heroism at risk of their own life. Nate will receive the award at a special ceremony on Monday, May 16 at 7:00 pm at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Included in the ceremony will be the Miller family themselves, who will help honor Nate for his bravery.
Nate’s story of heroism was also recognized by the Kansas City Royals earlier this year. Nate was chosen to sit in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat as part of Scout Day at the K on April 10, 2016.