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Gainesville Scout cited for bravery
Nigel Smith

Sometimes a risk never pays off with a reward. A selfless act may only get a “thank you.”

However, sometimes an act of kindness or courage does get noticed, and the person is rewarded for their noble deed.

Nigel Smith, a Boy Scout member of Troop 15 in Gainesville, got to experience that recognition Saturday morning when he was honored with the Boy Scouts of America’s National Heroism Award.

He received the award for saving a person from drowning while on a whitewater rafting expedition last summer.

“It’s amazing,” said Smith, 16, about receiving the award. “(The Scouts) have to always be prepared.”

While in Blairsville during a camp retreat last summer, the whitewater raft that carried Smith and seven other people struck a rock. The impact tossed the person overboard. Smith was able to pull him out of the water and back into the safety of the raft.

Smith gave credit to the Scouts’ emphasis on preparation that helped him make the quick decision.

Doretha R. Smith said her son’s award meant a lot to her.

“I’m honored and humbled that he would risk his own life for someone else, to always consider others before himself,” she said. “I want him to be guided by God on when to jump into action.”

The award was also big for Smith’s father, who is serving in the U.S. military overseas.

“(The award) has made my dad proud,” he said.

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