A Plandome Boy Scout who rescued a struggling swimmer has been honored with the prestigious Medal of Merit Award.
William Simone, a junior at St. Dominic High School in Oyster Bay, received the award last month during a surprise ceremony at the Church of Our Savior Lutheran in Manhasset. The award recognizes an “act of meritorious service above and beyond what is normally expected” of a Boy Scout, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
Simone said the incident in question occurred in August 2016, when a man in his 60s was trying to wave down a lifeguard as he struggled to stay afloat in Westhampton Beach. The teen used his Boogie board to pull the man back to shore.
“It was a particularly rough day,” Simone, 16, said of the water. “I didn’t really think much of it at the time. It’s just one of those things you’ve got to do.”
The act was subsequently reported to the Boy Scouts National Council at the recommendation of Simone’s father, Chris, who is his scoutmaster in Troop 71.
During the ceremony, Simone said he didn’t initially realize he was the one being honored since so much time had passed since the rescue.
“It was definitely a surprise; I was very humbled and proud,” he said.
Simone is also vice president of his school’s Catholic Club.
— MICHAEL R. EBERT