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Merit Badge Helps Scout Save a Life

Jason Robert Balmos earned his Eagle Scout rank on December 05, 1999 in the Alamo Area Council, Troop 285, chartered by Coker United Methodist Church. One merit badge that he earned was, of course, First Aid. This badge was then, and still is now, taught by Assistant Scout Master, Zack Taylor. Dr. Taylor includes a very thorough CPR class in this Merit Badge. After completing structural and wildland firefighting training while continuing to work in the food service industry, Jason went on to become a Firefighter in the Texas panhandle town of Pampa in September of 2012, then completed EMT training in January 2013.

In July of this year Jason was playing in a softball game in Pampa. During the game he heard a commotion across the field in the other dugout. Jason asked what was happening when he observed a crowd of people in and around that dugout. There was a man in his early 30's, a friend of his that worked out at the same gym, had collapsed. According to those that played with him regularly, it was a common occurrence, and he had always been back on his feet within a minute or two. Just to be on the safe side, he went over to see if he could help, and noticed that the man was losing natural skin color in his face. He then asked if anyone around him had medical training and knew what to do. They did not, so Jason entered the dugout, rolled the man onto his back, and determined that the man was not breathing and had no pulse. Jason told bystanders to call 911 and enlisted the help of a woman standing near the man. Jason began chest compressions while the woman gave rescue breathing under Jason's direction. EMS arrived and use a defibrillator to deliver 1 shock, which restored cardiac rhythm. The man was then loaded into the ambulance and transported to the local hospital. Jason rode in the rear of the ambulance to continue any assistance needed. The man was stabilized at the hospital in Pampa and flown by helicopter to another hospital in Amarillo.

The man, who has a young son, is to be married later this month, and is on the road to recovery. The man contacted the Pampa Fire Chief and told him what had happened. It was decided that Jason would be awarded a Citation of Merit signed by the Pampa City Manager at a City Commission meeting on September 11, 2017. The man was at the meeting to give thanks to Jason, the Pampa Fire Department, and EMS, along with all of the others who had helped save his life. Jason's recognition of the man's initial condition, his willingness to get involved, and skills learned by him in Troop 285 and at the Training Academy in Crowley Texas were all key components in this story having a happy ending. Jason still participates in Troop 285 activities. 


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