A Santa Clarita Boy Scout and his father each received the Boy Scouts of America Medal of Merit Thursday for their efforts in helping to save the life of a motorcyclist after a severe crash on San Francisquito Canyon Road.
In March 2013, Peter Castano and his father Michael were driving home from a Boy Scout event in Castaic when they witnessed a motorcyclist cash into a guard rail.
According to Michael, a paramedic with the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the crash victim suffered a compound fracture to his right arm and severe cuts and road rash to his arms and legs.
“I see this all the time, so it was just another incident to me,” Michael said.
“My son helped me out and did not panic with all of the blood and bones as the victim was going into shock. I was proud of him. I needed the help right then and he did a great job.”
Peter Castano, 15, received first-aid training including the proper way to bandage, wrap and tape wounds during his last four years as a Boy Scout in Troop 2.
The Valencia High School sophomore is well-decorated with merit badges, and credits his ability to calmly respond to an emergency to his Boy Scout training.
“We worked to stop the bleeding, and wrapped his ankle and his arm,” he said.
Time was of the essence. The crash happened north of Copper Hill Road, in a remote area that did not have cell phone service.
It took about 20 minutes from the time the crash happened until help arrived, Peter said.
“That 20 minutes was pretty critical considering the guy’s condition and the amount of blood he was losing. Thank God I had the right bag and the right equipment,” said Michael, who carries an emergency first-aid kit in his vehicle at all times.
“Everything works out for a reason, we just happened to be there,” he said.
The National Medal of Merit is reserved for scouts and adult leaders who go above and beyond in extraordinary situations, said David Larson, District Advancement Chairman for the Bill Hart District.
According to the Boy Scouts of America website, 249 Medals of Merit were awarded in 2013 across the country. Since the award’s inception in 1945, less than 6,500 medals have been awarded.
“Peter was able to keep his cool and with his father’s guidance was able to do what needed to be done in order to save a man’s life,” Larson said.
Both Michael and Peter received their medals during a monthly Bill Hart District Roundtable event Thursday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Saugus.
Michael contacted district officials earlier this year to nominate his son for the award.
Larson then requested the National Boy Scouts of America Council award the medal to both the father and son. Plans to honor both of them were kept secret.
“It was a big surprise,” he said. “My son helped me out out there, and I was excited for him but I didn’t expect anything for me.”