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Eagle Scouts Honor “Be Prepared” Motto When 73-Yr-Old Has A Heart Attack In A Lake.

A two-photo collage. The first shows Bruce Otto talking to WLKY crew from a hospital bed, still recovering from his heart attack at Camp Crooked Creek in Kentucky. The second shows a "get well soon" poster with lots of colorful messages and signatures on it. It was made for Bruce Otto after his heart attack.

The Boy Scouts of America are taught to always be prepared, a lesson members put into action a couple of weeks ago at a lake in Kentucky. The Scouts BSA property, Camp Crooked Creek, is a location where all types of training takes place. On this particular day, staff and volunteers aimed to swim 550 meters to earn their BSA Lifeguard certification.

One of those folks was Bruce Otto. At 73 years old, he’s still an avid swimmer and volunteer adult Scout leader. His test was going smoothly at first, but then he found himself slowing down until he was face-down in the water.

Michael “MJ” Todd, the aquatics director, blew his whistle as soon as he noticed. In an instant, the other staff jumped in to rescue Bruce who was quickly on his way to the floor of the lake. Michael swam the nine feet it took to reach Bruce before using a buoyant lifeguard tube to get them both back on the surface.

As relieving as it was to have Bruce back on land, this was only the start of their rescue mission. Next, it was time to get him breathing. While they waited for an ambulance to arrive, they used an AED and administered CPR for a grueling 30 minutes.

Thankfully, they were able to get Bruce faintly breathing again before the ambulance arrived.

“It was training and having this phenomenal team with me,” Cleis Newell, the assistant aquatics director said. “Everyone was on their toes, knew exactly what they needed to do. We worked so well together as a team, everyone jumped in to help.”

Michael also credits what he’s learned from BSA to their ability to stay focused and calm enough to save Bruce’s life.

“Scouting changed my life for the better,” Michael said. “You know the (Scout) motto ‘Be Prepared?’ I’ve never felt more prepared with Scouting.”

As for Bruce, he’s recovering in the hospital from a heart attack. He’s gotten lots of support and well wishes, and he continues to find it difficult to express just how much he appreciates the folks who, quite literally, saved his life.

“I’m not sure the English language has words for the depths of gratitude I have,” Bruce said. “It’s just very emotional. How do you thank people for that?”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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