Great Southwest Council, Boy Scouts of America Heading

Lifesaving and Meritorious Action Awards

Lifesaving and Meritorious Action Awards are available to Scouts and leaders who go above and beyond the call of duty by saving the life of someone else.

The Lifesaving Award may be presented to an individual who saves or attempts to save a life under circumstances that indicate heroism and risk to his or her own life. There are three types of lifesaving awards:

Honor Medal with Crossed Palms

Instituted: 1946

Knot Number & Description: No. 05010 - Red knot on tan background

Overview:The Honor Medial with crossed palms is given in exceptional cases to a member who demonstrates both unusual heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self.

Requirements: (Nominations must be submitted on the Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award form No. 92-104B)
Nominations for concurrently registered members who meet the criteria in the preceding paragraph should be submitted within 6 months of the date of action and must be accompanied by the following:

  • Personally prepared and signed statement by person performing action describing the incident
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by the rescued person, if any.
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by each witness, describing the action as he or she recalls the details. Include name, address, & phone of all witnesses.
  • Summary of the council committee of the event (page 5 of the nomination form).
  • IF RECOMENDATION WILL ARRIVE AT NATIONAL COURT OF HONOR MORE THAT 6 MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF ACTION: Letter explaining the delay in submitting the recommendation.
  • Typed copy of al the above stapled to each original document.
  • Glossy photo of the individual who made the rescue (5" x 7" desired).
  • Completion and submission of the 6 page Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award (Form No. 92-104B, 1999 printing or later).

Commentary: When awarded, the Crossed Palms are worn on the ribbon only, not on the knot. The crossed palms are available on a restricted basis for recipients only from the Council Services Division at the national office.

Honor Medal

Instituted: 1946

Knot Number & Description: No. 05010 - Red knot on tan background

Overview: The Honor Medal is presented to those who save or attempt to save a life at considerable risk to self.

Requirements: (Nominations must be submitted on the Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award form No. 92-104B.)
Nominations for concurrently registered members who meet the criteria in the preceding paragraph should be submitted within 6 months of the date of action and must be accompanied by the following:

  • Personally prepared and signed statement by person performing action describing the incident
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by the rescued person, if any.
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by each witness, describing the action as he or she recalls the details. Include name, address, & phone of all witnesses.
  • Summary of the council committee of the event (page 5 of the nomination form).
  • IF RECOMENDATION WILL ARRIVE AT NATIONAL COURT OF HONOR MORE THAT 6 MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF ACTION: Letter explaining the delay in submitting the recommendation.
  • Typed copy of al the above stapled to each original document.
  • Glossy photo of the individual who made the rescue (5" x 7" desired).
  • Completion and submission of the 6 page Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award (Form No. 92-104B, 1999 printing or later).

Heroism Award

Instituted: 1983

Knot Number & Description: No. 05020 - Red knot on white background

Overview: May be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who demonstrated heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save a life at minimum risk to self.

Requirements: (Nominations must be submitted on the Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award form No. 92-104B.)
Nominations for concurrently registered members who meet the criteria in the proceeding paragraph should be submitted within 6 months of the date of action and must be accompanied by the following:

  • Personally prepared and signed statement by person performing action describing the incident
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by the rescued person, if any.
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by each witness, describing the action as he or she recalls the details. Include name, address, & phone of all witnesses.
  • Summary of the council committee of the event (page 5 of the nomination form).
  • IF RECOMENDATION WILL ARRIVE AT NATIONAL COURT OF HONOR MORE THAT 6 MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF ACTION: Letter explaining the delay in submitting the recommendation.
  • Typed copy of al the above stapled to each original document.
  • Glossy photo of the individual who made the rescue (5" x 7" desired).
  • Completion and submission of the 6 page Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award (Form No. 92-104B, 1999 printing or later).

Commentary: Typically awarded in lieu of Honor Medal when less risk was involved to the person making the rescue. May be worn by previous recipients of the Certificate of Heroism.

The Meritorious Action Awards indicate that significant or outstanding acts of service of exceptional character were performed by an individual and need not involve an attempt to rescue or risk ones own life, but must put into practice Scouting skills and/or ideals. There are two types of meritorious action awards:

Medal of Merit

Instituted: 1953

Knot Number & Description: No. (see Commentary) - Gold and blue knot, blue to the wearer's right, on tan background with brown frame.

Overview: May be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has performed an action of service of a rare and exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others. The action taken need not have involved attempts of rescue or risk to self but must have put into practice Scouting skills and/or ideals. Action merely in the performance of duty, or where it might reasonably be expected due to position of responsibility or supervisory obligation, does not merit this award.

Requirements: (Nominations must be submitted on the Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award form No. 92-104B.)
Nominations for concurrently registered members who meet the criteria in the preceding paragraph should be submitted within 6 months of the date of action and must be accompanied by the following:

  • Personally prepared and signed statement by person performing action describing the incident
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by the rescued person, if any.
  • Personally prepared and signed statement by each witness, describing the action as he or she recalls the details. Include name, address, & phone of all witnesses.
  • Summary of the council committee of the event (page 5 of the nomination form).
  • IF RECOMENDATION WILL ARRIVE AT NATIONAL COURT OF HONOR MORE THAT 6 MONTHS AFTER THE DATE OF ACTION: Letter explaining the delay in submitting the recommendation.
  • Typed copy of al the above stapled to each original document.
  • Glossy photo of the individual who made the rescue (5" x 7" desired).
  • Completion and submission of the 6 page Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award (Form No. 92-104B, 1999 printing or later).

Commentary: The knot number for this award varies, depending on the source used. It's listed both as No. 05013 and No. 05025 in the Insignia Guide and as No. O5025 in The Scoutmaster Handbook.

National Certificate of Merit

The National Certificate of Merit may be awarded to a youth member or adult leader who has performed a significant act of service that is deserving of special national recognition.

All applications should be submitted to the National Court of Honor through the local council upon duly prescribed forms, and it shall be within the discretion of the National Court of Honor to determine which type of recognition shall be given. Recipients of these awards must have been registered members of the Boy Scouts of America at the time the action was performed. Awards are made in the name of the Boy Scouts of America.

Recommendations

In order to be considered for one of these awards, an individual must be nominated within six months of the action.  Use the form ?Recommendation for Lifesaving or Meritorious Action Award,? #92-104C.

All recommendations are first reviewed by the Council Advancement Committee before being sent to the national council for consideration. In cases that do not meet the criteria for one of these national awards, the Council Advancement Committee may recommend that a Council Certificate of Merit be presented.


Examples of true stories can be seen each month in the ?Scouts in Action? section of Boys? Life magazine.