WEST WARWICK — The Boy Scouts of America recently awarded a National Certificate of Merit to 9-year-old Kenneth McMullen III, a member of Pack 1 Arctic.
The award is given in recognition of performance of a significant act of service.
Much to his surprise, McMullen received the award during last month’s ceremony for taking quick and calm action after his mother, Jennifer, took a nasty fall in a local store last year. He stayed calm, took care of his mother and his little brother Johnny, had someone contact 911 and then contacted his father.
Jennifer injured her hip, foot and wrist after she slipped on something the spilled in the aisle.
“It startled me when it happened,” Kenneth said. “But I called for someone to call 911 then my dad because I knew my mom couldn’t move.”
Jennifer said in all the confusion, she kept calling out for her kids because she wasn’t sure where they were but Kenny and Johnny stayed right beside her with Kenny’s hand on his brother’s knee all the time, comforting him.
“When I told him I was hurt, he cried out for help,” she said.
When Jennifer realized she was going to be transported to the hospital, she asked Kenny to contact his dad.
“I kept telling my mom that help was on the way, then I used the phone to call my dad,” Kenny explained.
“He was very calm on the phone, told me exactly what happened, that he called 911 and he was there taking care of her and his brother,” his father, Kenneth II said.
Jennifer explained that Kenneth was taught what her and her husband’s cell phone numbers are at a young age in case of an emergency.
“When you’re lying on the floor and unable to move, it becomes very scary,” she said. “I could hear a lot of commotion around me but was trying desperately to tune in to my children. My 3-year-old wasn’t making a sound but I was told by employees that Kenny was sitting there holding his hand, while reassuring him.”
When the rescue personnel asked her if she’d hit her head, she couldn’t recall so they placed a neck collar on her.
“He was the one reassuring me it would be ok, that they were only doing that to keep me safe,” she said.
Both Kenny’s mom and dad say he’s a good kid and just steps into action and seems beyond his years when he does so.
“However, he’s still also a typical 9-year-old,” said Kenny the father.
Kenny the son has been participating in the scouts for four years and enjoys the friendships he’s formed and the activities they do but his parents have also noticed how he takes some of the more serious lessons to heart — things like using the buddy system when they all go somewhere, learning about fire safety and take other daily safety precautions.
Pack Committee Chairperson Heather Snow put in the request and the nomination for the award and the national recognition, said Jennifer.
“Any act that the Pack representatives believe is worthy of recognition can be chosen for recognition,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be something that’s just through the Cub Scouts. We teach him the same things at home, we have a very close Pack and have a very close family with two grandparents who were in the emergency response field so it’s not something that’s a foreign idea for him.”
She said while he knows what he did and how he helped his mom, there’s a portion of it he doesn’t recall.
“Kenny has always been an awesome son, my best friend, but on August 15, 2012, he became my hero,” she said. “His instinct took over and in my opinion, he responded with heroic efforts of someone beyond his age.”