In the summer of 2018, Life scout John Gerard was boating on lake Minnetonka with a friend's family. As they pulled into the dock area to tie off the boat, the grandfather of John's friend lost his balance as he stepped out of the boat onto the dock. He tipped backwards and fell head first into the water and sank as his self-inflating life vest didn’t inflate. The water at the boat landing was 10-12’ deep where he fell in. John's friend's mom jumped in and tried to find him but could not go under the water. John jumped from the boat, over the dock and into the water, going all the way to the bottom and finding the grandfather, pulled him to the surface. With the mom, they supported the grandfather guiding him along the dock to the shore. John's friend Blake had taken control of the boat and kept the other kids calm, tying the boat off and racing to the shore to help them out of the water.
In March of 2019, John was awarded the BSA National Medal of Merit for his use of the skills learned in his Lifesaving Merit Badge. This incident was a large part of the reason he decided to earn the American Red Cross and BSA Lifeguard certifications through the Venture Crew 513 Family Swim Program.