Michigan Eagle Scout Saves Woman from Burning Car, Receives Heroism Award

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Al Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

There are two types of people when it comes to emergency situations—those that run away and those that are Eagle Scouts. Scouts are always willing to lend a hand, whether for a celebration or for a critical situation.

According to the Boy Scouts of America’s official site, “Researchers with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR) and Program on Prosocial Behavior released findings from a nationwide, scientific survey that demonstrates the significant, positive impact Eagle Scouts have on society — from holding leadership positions in their workplaces and neighborhoods to voting and volunteering, and from protecting the environment to being prepared for emergencies.”

That’s why when Jodie Matthews found herself seconds away from being trapped in an exploding car, she was lucky to have Eagle Scout Mychal VanAllsburg on the scene.

In 2019, VanAllsburg was working his first day at Enterprise Door LLC in Michigan when the accident happened. According to Fox News, the Eagle Scout remembered, I heard the crash … and just started kind of running towards the noise.” That was when he saw a truck roll over a curb and witnessed the driver get out of the vehicle. VanAllsburg then found Matthews’ “four-door car sitting in the middle of the street all beat up and mangled.” 

Using his Eagle Scout training, VanAllsburg assessed the danger of the situation before intervening. When he approached Matthews, VanAllsburg noticed two things: the stranger’s cries for help and the unmistakable smell of burning wire. He knew he had to act fast.

Eagle Scout Reflex

As a coworker joined his side, the two men began pulling at the driver side door frame. Eventually, the frame bent downwards, allowing VanAllsburg to access the interior of the vehicle. The Eagle Scout quickly adjusted the steering wheel so that they could free Matthews from the driver side.

VanAllsburg remembers that only when they were steps away that the car went up in flames.

Hero’s Reward

Despite his heroism, VanAllsburg hardly ever mentioned that he saved a stranger’s life. The Eagle Scout credits his upbringing for his ability to take action when someone’s in need.

However, other members of the Boy Scouts of America disagreed. They believed VanAllsburg’s actions deserved an award.

In May this year, VanAllsburg received the Heroism Award. The Boy Scouts of America states that the award honors those who demonstrate “heroism and skill in saving or attempting to save a life at minimal personal risk.”

Matthews, who attended the Eagle Scout’s ceremony and pinned the award to his uniform, can certainly vouch for her hero.