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How Boy Scout Troop 77 saved a man's life after he fell in Hell's Canyon
Posted at 12:12 PM, Nov 16, 2023

EAGLE, ID — A group of hero scouts from Troop 77 in Eagle saved a man's life in Hell's Canyon in early May. These boys will now be honored in November with the Heroism Award.

  • Troop 77 was on a canoeing trip on the Snake River
  • They got word a hiker fell down the side of the hill
  • The scouts canoed down the river looking for the man
  • After finding the man, they provided first aid and medical aid
  • They stayed with the man until he was able to be transported down the river to a pick-up zone to be airlifted to a hospital
  • The scouts involved are now being honored with the Heroism Award

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Boy Scouts to the rescue! I'm your Eagle neighborhood reporter Alexander Huddleston. In early May... Eagle Boy Scout Troop 77 came across a hiker who took a pretty big fall and needed some serious help. Now they will be honored with the Heroism Award… one of the highest honors a member can receive. I spoke with a few of the boys being honored on Tuesday.

May 6th started as a simple canoeing trip for a group of scouts from Troop 77 in Eagle.

Brendan Karabensh explained, "It was more of, like, just a fun outing for all of us scouts. Just canoeing down the river seven miles. It was meant to be just a fun little stroll down the river."

That quickly changed. After stopping for lunch, the boys continued their journey down the river but were stopped by a hiker who was trying to get the scout's attention.

"They were, like, waving us down ... like “Hey! Hey! There's this guy about four-tenths of a mile down the river. Can you go help him?," said Karabensh.

Henry Cavanagh was another scout on this trip. He said, "Me and McCoy were in the first canoe. We were definitely more worried because we were closer to her. We were able to see the fear and panic in her face."

That's when the scouts met 80-year-old Eric Valentine. He was hiking in Hell’s Canyon when he slipped and fell down the side of the hill while trying to pull a weed out of his boot. Having serious injuries from the fall, he was able to claw himself up the steep embankment back to the trail in hopes of finding help. Luckily help would soon be there.

Cavanagh explained, "And as we got closer we realized, oh that's a person. They are not moving very much. That's a problem. So we started to coordinate once we landed the canoes a lot more."

"They provided some first aid or as much as they could," said Karabensh

McCoy Bondelid said, "It felt like another scenario that we normally practice... but it was just going through the motions."

After treating Valentine's injuries, the group stayed with him and made sure he was comfortable as they waited for first responders.

With the help of Idaho Power and a few good Samaritans with a boat, they eventually were able to transport Valentine down the river to a spot where he could be flown to a local hospital.

Bondelid explained, "Our whole motto is to be prepared. That's not just like you get thrown out in the wilderness. It's in your life and everyday things.

Speaking with the boys involved, they seem to just be thankful they were able to help save Valentine’s life and they know the skills required to help in that situation.

Karabensh ended with, "Call it a coincidence. But as Mr. Valentine puts it, how many coincidences does it take to make a miracle?"

The scouts involved will be honored for their actions with the Heroism Award on November 28.