Boy Scout Dane H., 14, of the Great Lakes Field Service Council didn’t know what kind of adventure was in store when he set out for a day of dirt biking, but fortunately for Michigan’s Au Sable State Forest, the Scout was prepared for anything.
In April 2015, Dane and his father Michael were riding dirt bikes on the Kalkaska Central Trail loop when they discovered a ground fire. Upon discovery, the fire was only about 10 feet in diameter, but was spreading quickly due to high winds.
Michael, who is also Dane’s Scout leader, tried to quell the flames, but the fire progressed. At that point, Dane knew they needed help and quickly hopped back onto his dirt bike.
While Michael attempted to keep the blaze at bay, Dane sped miles through the narrow trail back to his family’s camp. Dane’s mother Joyce was one of the first to see his speedy arrival.
“He said, ‘Mom call 911. There’s a fire out of control.’ I proceeded to call and stayed on the line with 911. Dane jumped back on the bike to direct them back in there. It was quite a ways.” Joyce shared with C and G Newspapers.
After leading his uncle to assist his father, the Scout once again darted down the hilly trail, this time to guide the fire department to the growing blaze.
Michael explained to C and G Newspapers, “Dane said, ‘We can’t get this out. We’ve got to go call somebody.’ It’s quite a trail. The fire department needed someone to show them where it was.”
The authorities had to use bulldozers to contain the fire, which had rapidly grown to 50 feet in diameter. According to Michael, the fire department reported the fire’s damage would have been much worse if the father and son duo had not taken action.
On November 2, Dane was given the Boy Scout Medal of Merit award. This special honor is given to youth members or adult leaders for performing an act of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the wellbeing of others.