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Arizona Eagle Scout takes home national award for heroism

Helped driver in fiery crash along I-8
Eagle Scout.jpeg
Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-21 20:20:31-05

YUMA, AZ — A Yuma Eagle Scout was presented a major award this month for his heroism during a fiery car crash in March of 2022.

“Scouting prepares you for more things as opposed to just what people think,” said Vaughn Grosse.

The 18-year-old says that preparation took center stage in March of last year when he and his mother came across a violent vehicle accident on Interstate 8 while driving from Phoenix to Yuma late in the evening. The young man, who had learned life-saving measures through volunteer work with the Yuma Fire Department, knew what he had to do.

“The vehicle was starting to catch on fire, it was smoking fairly well so right at that moment, I kicked into action,” said Grosse. “I took off my headphones and ran to the scene of the car crash and I tried to see what I could help out with.”

He says two Marines in the area along with two other good Samaritans did the same. They pulled a man from the crumpled car before attacking the flames with fire extinguishers.

“We weren’t sure if the engine compartment would catch fire or maybe even explode, we weren’t entirely sure of that, so we did move him a distance away from the vehicle to ensure his and our safety,” said Grosse.

His mom Gen added that the humanity in her son and each of those who ran towards the fire that night was breathtaking.

“While he was running off finding fire extinguishers, while he was helping try and put the fire out, and while he was helping move the victim to safety, it was the compassion and empathy every time he would return to the victim, he would talk with him,” said Gen with pride.

“I was just trying to keep him calm and I was trying to tell him, 'Listen, dude, you’re alive, you’re alright,'” said Grosse. “We were keeping him still and I was asking for basic information that I could give to EMTs when they got there.”

They were able to stabilize the man until help arrived. That night is now also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America which recently presented Grosse with a national heroism award. While he’s honored with the recognition, he says there is a hero in all of us if we show the courage to step forward.

“If you go to your local food bank and you help out, or if you just lend a hand in a community service project, that’s enough to be considered a hero in my opinion,” said Grosse.

Grosse graduated high school last May and is now in the fire academy.