By Presley Dailey, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross North Texas Region
At the American Red Cross, we recognize and honor those who go out of their way to protect others using the valuable skills they learn through our various training courses, because at any given moment, those who use these acquired skills and stay aware of their surroundings can play a vital role in saving another person’s life. In this case, that beacon of hope presented itself in young brothers Micah and Macen Beard, who made use of their training and quick wit to sustain the life of a struggling swimmer they encountered during their vacation at Orange Beach, Alabama.
When taking a trip to the beach, most people expect a relaxing, enjoyable time spent resting in the sun or wading in the water. The last thing most people expect is to have to jump into action to save another person’s life, which is a daunting task for anyone – however, for well-trained and quick-thinking people like the Beard brothers, this is a situation they are prepared for. While going for a swim, the brothers noticed other vacationers swimming at a distance that seemed unsafe for regular swimmers. After calling out to the people to check on them, the brothers realized one of them was struggling to stay above water and they leaped into action.
As Macen interacted directly with the struggling swimmer, he focused on important information he remembered from his previous Red Cross Lifeguard and CPR/AED training, and used that knowledge to help the swimmer stay afloat. Macen showed him a safe and secure way to hold onto the other person so that neither would go under, and he began leading them safely to the shore. His brother Micah saw them approaching and quickly made his way to them to help pull everyone to safety, and once everyone reached land, the lifeguard personnel on duty took over and began to provide aid to the swimmer.
Macen and Micah Beard – American Red Cross Certificate of Merit Recipients
To honor the brothers’ quick thinking and selfless behavior, the Red Cross hosted an awards presentation where notable people from their own community and the Red Cross team came together to properly recognize and thank them for their service to others. The young men had been presented with the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit, which is the most prestigious award that can be given by the Red Cross to any person trained by the organization in life saving response and action. The brothers displayed their awards humbly with smiles on their faces as everyone on the call expressed their admiration.
“I’d like to thank everyone here for all their nice words,” Micah explained, gratitude evident in his voice.
“Especially everyone at the Red Cross for giving us such an award. It really is an honor, and I know me and my brother are both grateful.”
As the brothers spoke, the community leaders and the Red Cross team members listened carefully and respectfully and continued to give positive remarks on the boys’ bravery, commending their character and expressing enthusiasm for their future.
At the Red Cross, we take pride in helping to mobilize people like the Beard brothers to serve the humanitarian objective, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to act quickly and accordingly to the situation at hand. The Beard brothers’ story perfectly encompasses what it means to be prepared and to take advantage of the educational courses provided by the Red Cross – you never know when having that extra knowledge might play a key role in saving another person’s life or even your own.