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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. 

When Brian Manion rescued an Andover woman from her burning car, he wasn’t expecting any recognition.


The Boy Scouts of America presented Brian Manion with the prestigious Honor Medal Sunday, March 2, 2014.

Manion was awarded the medal after saving an Andover woman from her burning car. Submitted photo 


He was simply living out the Boy Scouts of America’s slogan: “Do a good turn daily.”  Even after becoming the

recipient of the Boy Scouts’ prestigious Honor Medal March 2, Manion remained modest. “I’m a simple person,” he

said. “I do what I can.”


Manion, 35, of Isanti, pulled Tonia Dockter, 43, from her smoldering vehicle Nov. 17, 2012. He was honored for his

heroism in a ceremony for Three Rivers District volunteers this month.


The Honor Medal is a national award, given to men involved in the Scouts who take on “considerable risk” while

saving or attempting to save another’s life.  The award dates back to 1923, and since that time, fewer than 2,500

medals have been distributed across the United States.  Manion’s medal is the first presented locally in at least

10 years, according to Jamie Lamprecht, senior director of the Three Rivers District.


The incident


On Nov. 17, 2012, Manion and his family were headed home after a morning of shopping in Coon Rapids.  The

family saw Dockter driving in and out of the ditch on County Road 9 and became concerned.  Jennifer, Manion’s

wife, called 911 to report “sporadic, crazy driving” after Dockter hit a speed limit sign and sped off, Manion said.  Near the 19700 block of County Road 9, Manion’s family discovered Dockter’s car in the ditch and went to see if she needed help.  Manion saw that there was a young boy in the vehicle, Dockter’s son, as well as the female driver.  As Manion was making his way down into the swamp where Dockter’s car settled, he heard another bystander shout, “The car’s on fire!’”  The boy jumped out of the vehicle, but Dockter didn’t move. She appeared to be chemically impaired, Manion said.


“A little bit of panic sets in, a little bit of adrenaline,” he said, remembering the day.  Manion unbuckled Dockter’s seat belt and lifted her out of the car. Another bystander helped her away from the vehicle while Manion returned for her purse.  He isn’t sure why, but he turned off the car and put it in park. “As I was doing all that, the car was starting to fill with smoke,” he said.


By the time police arrived, thick black smoke could be seen miles away and the car and the grass around it were engulfed in flames, according to an investigation report from Deputy Travis Bolles of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.  Dockter was transported to the hospital.  In May, she pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and endangerment of a child charges. The court sentenced her to two years probation after it stayed one year in prison.


A long history with the Scouts


Manion’s training with the Boy Scouts led him to action Nov. 17.  “It’s been a lifelong journey,” he said.  He started as a Cub Scout in Pack 524 out of Coon Rapids. He moved through Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 1996 (with Troop 524) after reconstructing some steps in Bunker Hills Regional Park.  Now, his son Daniel is a Cub Scout in Pack 511 out of St. Francis, and Manion is his leader.


Manion is grateful to his parents, Don and Sue Manion, who nominated him for the lifesaving award, and all of the scout leaders who taught him the skills necessary to spring into action Nov. 17.

Troop 524 Eagle Scout Awarded Honor Medal for Lifesaving Actions
  Date: 03/20/14

  by Olivia Koester ABC Newspapers

The Boy Scouts of America presented Brian Manion with the prestigious Honor Medal Sunday, March 2, 2014. Manion was awarded the medal after saving an Andover woman from her burning car.

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