The Edmond Sun

March 9, 2013

Local Eagle Scout receives national Heroism Medal

National Court of Honor recognizes actions

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — A Boy Scout troop rappelling camp out in the Wichita Mountains took a turn for the worse for a then-14-year-old Boy Scout two years ago. For the result of his actions for demonstrating skills in the attempt to save a life, the National Court of Honor has awarded the Heroism Medal to Jonah D. Moore of Troop 78 in Edmond. Jonah is the son of Daniel and Whitney Moore of Edmond.

Jonah, now 16 and a senior at Memorial High School, was taking some photos of other troop members, including his brother who was getting ready to rappel, when he saw a man fall 30 feet down the side of the cliff.

When Kendall Hill, 47, fell more than 30 feet from a cliff in the remote Wichita Mountains near Lawton, he suffered severe injuries to his legs, face, ribs and lungs. On Nov. 12, 2011, the then Life Scout, Jonah had no idea he would be called upon to put his years of Scout training to use. He was prepared for such an emergency, and when he noticed the falling man he rushed to his aid.

“My troop went on a rappelling camp out, and I was excited because I hadn’t been rappelling in quite a while,” Jonah, now an Eagle Scout, said. “I had my webbing with me, but it was too small for me so I gave it to my brother, Joshua who was 12. He never got the chance to rappel because he was in line right after Lee Hill whose turn it was to rappel, when Lee’s father, Kendall, was backed up too far and tumbled down the hill.

“I got up and ran over to him as he was trying to walk,” Jonah said, “ and I laid him down and told him not to move. It looked like his foot was hanging on by the tendon. I took a bandana and made a splint for his leg to keep it stable and to help avoid more bleeding. My friend came up and I told him to go get someone else to help. He came back with some adults.”

Jonah said the stagnant water Kendall fell into was filled with leeches and they were swimming toward the man so Jonah pulled him up further onto the bank.

“I did what I could to clean the blood off his face. A triangle shaped cut was on his upper lip.”  

The cliff Hill fell from is 40 feet across from ledge to ledge and between 75 feet to 30 feet to the bottom.

Jonah provided first aid to the bleeding and broken man and took command of the situation, calling for others to aid him and call for help. Jonah moved the man’s broken leg from the creek and treated him for shock, compound bone fractures and severe bleeding. Although one of Hill’s legs was later amputated, Jonah acted to minimize the injuries, prevent further injury or death, and led others in an emergency situation, stated the National Court of Honor.

“The award came as a surprise to me,” Jonah said. “I was helping out with the Order of the Arrow function in Norman when I was told. At the time I was a Life Scout and since then I have earned my Eagle Scout.”

Jonah is a member of Troop 78, which meets at First Presbyterian Church on Monday nights.

Jonah said if he is not too busy with college he plans on staying active in Scouting, but if he is too busy he plans on coming back to the program after college and helping with a troop.

His Scoutmaster at the time was Dallas New, and his Scoutmaster now is Dorman Morsman.

“I received a framed certificate as well as a square knot patch that goes on my shirt,” Jonah said. “It is a red square knot on a white rectangular background. Only one other person in our counsel has received the same award.”

Last Frontier Council in Eagle District covers more than half the state of Oklahoma.