Boy Scout Veteran Saves Friend’s Life with Heimlich Maneuver Training featured on ABC15 Arizona

Boy Scout Veteran Saves Friend’s Life with Heimlich Maneuver Training featured on ABC15 Arizona

Cubmaster, Steven Brunasso, shares his story of saving a friend’s life with Heimlich maneuver training. He credits the Heimlich maneuver training from years ago and was awarded the Medal of Merit for his service. ABC15 Arizona  aired Steven’s story Friday, May 21, 2021 on the 5 o’clock news. 

The Medal of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has performed some outstanding act of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.

The Medal of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has performed some outstanding act of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.

Can you explain how you felt when you received the Medal of Merit?

Steven Brunasso: “I was a little embarrassed to get the award. I am normally a very private person. The Medal of Merit is a great honor from BSA, but I think my son’s face when he got to pin it on my uniform was the best part. He was so proud to present it to his Dad. This is why I am a scout leader. The impact we have on youth. I am a role model.” Can you run me through that day when lunch turned into you saving a life? Steven Brunasso: “During lunch we all ordered the rodizio de carne. They basically come by with 12-20 varieties of flame roasted meat. During lunch, Jason suddenly became quiet. He was sitting directly across from me and his eyes went wide but not a word, sound or gasp. I don’t think he realized what was happening at first. I looked over at him and asked; “Are you choking?” He nodded and I asked, “Do you need help?”, Another nod. I looked at my watch and thought I have about 5 minutes to get him breathing. I got up and went around behind him. I reached down below his ribcage and thought of the bio-mechanics of the Heimlich. They want you to pull the ball of your fist up under the diaphragm to create pressure.”

Aside from the award, what is something this organization has given you, or taught you?

Steven Brunasso: “The brotherhood of all mankind. My father was my troop scoutmaster in Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia. He arranged a big camporee there for scouts from all the 6 oil company compounds to come. He also invited the local Saudi Scout troops. I think it was the first time they had ever been invited. We used to do joint events with them since we were guests in their land. Over the years I have been to over 60 countries and met scouts in 5 or 6. Now that my boys are moving into Boy Scouts, we will get to do more international events. I am looking forward to it. Scouts from anywhere are one family. We focus on the good in each other and accept where we are. I think this is certainly something the world needs more of. I see scouts as good principled people all over the world that try to help other and one big family. It motived me to volunteer on the International Scouting Committee here in Grand Canyon Council. Boys learn a moral code, self-reliance through prepared adventures in nature and develop a world view of how it could be. What more can we strive for. It is why I am a volunteer and hope to give back more than I got out of it.”

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