Michaela with her Medal of Merit

This is Unsung Heroes, a Bryan on Scouting blog series celebrating under-reported acts of Scouting heroism. These are stories that don’t make national headlines — but should. That’s doubly true in this world that can always use more good news. Read the latest story below, and find instructions for sharing your own Unsung Heroes story at the end of the post.

As dawn broke on the first week of school in late August 2019, Michaela Fearey was driving herself to marching band practice.

She watched as the car ahead of her pulled out, apparently without checking for oncoming traffic. As the car turned left, it hit an oncoming motorcyclist that was traveling 40 to 50 mph.

The motorcyclist flipped over the car, traveling about 20 feet into the air before landing on his back right in front of Michaela’s car.

In true Scout spirit, Michaela jumped out of her car and ran toward the emergency. She took control of the situation, moving methodically through the lifesaving steps she learned as a member of Scouts BSA Troop 700 of Grapevine, Texas (Longhorn Council).

“With no direct first aid to perform, I knelt down and spoke softly to him,” Michaela wrote in her statement about the event. “I don’t know if [he] ever heard me.”

The victim died at the hospital 36 hours later. Several months after the incident, Michaela’s council recognized her actions with the Medal of Merit.

“It is hard to believe she is a teenager, as she performed like an adult,” says Kimber Leigh Mowery-Barrow, who witnessed the crash and Michaela’s actions. “Throughout the event, Ms. Fearey remained calm and focused on helping the victim.”

‘You have to help’

It all happened in an instant. Michaela saw the crash and was out of her car in about 10 seconds.

“You’re a lifeguard,” she remembers saying to herself. “You have to help.”

She started to dial 911 but saw another band parent using her phone to call for help. After confirming that the call was going through, Michaela verified that traffic had stopped in every direction and then approached the man.

She saw that the man’s right leg was broken and shouted, “My name is Michaela Fearey. I’m trained in CPR and here to help.”

This is exactly what she had been taught to do at Longhorn Council’s Aquatics School, a two-week lifesaving training course she had attended just weeks before.

Next, Michaela checked the victim’s vitals, confirmed that he was breathing and that he did not need CPR. Knowing she couldn’t do much more while waiting for the paramedics to arrive, Michaela stayed with the unconscious victim and kept his airway clear of blood.

Minutes later, an off-duty firefighter ran to the scene, and he and Michaela kept the crash victim alive until emergency services arrived.

“While other adults stood around helplessly horrified, Michaela took action to try to save another’s life,” says her mom, Ginger Fearey. “She did this without reservation, with true compassion and in pursuit of nothing more than aiding another. She is truly my hero.”

Michaela with her Medal of Merit

What she learned

Michaela says she didn’t have a first-aid kit in her car. She had left it in her band locker the day before the accident.

“Now I always keep it on me at all times,” she says.

Though it’s unknown whether texting was involved in this incident, it has compelled Michaela to leave her phone in her glove compartment whenever she’s behind the wheel. She also checks for motorcycles before going through an intersection, turning or changing lanes.

“I also keep my lifeguard CPR mask, first-aid kit and emergency preparedness knowledge at hand in case of emergencies,” she says. “I made my family car crash kits and encourage my friends to employ safe driving.”

Ginger Fearey remains exceptionally proud. She remembers watching her teary-eyed daughter receive the medal.

“She insists that she did what any other person in her position would do,” Ginger Fearey says. “But of course this isn’t true.”

Helpful resources

The BSA is committed to helping young people enjoy Scouting — and life — safely. Here are some Health & Safety resources worth sharing:

Learn more about CPR training, including an opportunity to receive a 120-day certificate extension online, at the American Red Cross.

Share your Unsung Heroes story

Stories like these brighten my day — especially because I know this kind of thing happens regularly in Scouting.

Here’s how to share the news of an Unsung Hero in your pack, troop or crew:

  1. Send an email to me with the subject line “Unsung Heroes.”
  2. Include a detailed summary of the heroic act.
  3. Include any “supporting documentation” you can. Examples include links to a story in your local newspaper, paperwork for a Scouting heroism award nomination or eyewitness accounts.
  4. Include high-res photos of the Unsung Hero.

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