Plandome Boy Scout honored with Medal of Merit for life-saving effort

Plandome Boy Scout honored with Medal of Merit for life-saving effort
William Simone receives the Boy Scout Medal of Merit at a surprise ceremony Friday in Manhasset. (Photo courtesy of Chris Simone)

When William Simone was 14, he was enjoying an August day in the ocean at Westhampton Beach.

A strong swimmer, Simone was in about 10 feet of water when he noticed a man struggling to stay afloat.

“He said to me, ‘I’m going to need help. I think I might be drowning,'” Simone said.

Boy Scout William Simone, left, was honored with the Medal of Merit Award on Friday. (Photo courtesy of Chris Simone)

Momentarily taken aback, Simone said he helped the man climb onto the boogie board he had been riding and pulled the struggling swimmer back to shore.

On Friday, more than a year and a half after the event, Simone, a Boy Scout, was honored during a surprise ceremony at Church of Our Saviour Lutheran in front of his family and fellow Plandome Troop 71 members with the Boy Scout Medal of Merit Award.

“Normally for that event, they take time to honor someone, an adult leader who is stepping down,” Simone said. “They said they were honoring a scout, and since this was so long ago, I had forgotten about the event until Friday night.”

Simone said his father and troop master Chris Simone began his speech about the scout to be honored that night and realized quickly the story was his own.

“I was surprised. I was very honored to get the award,” Simone said. “A lot of other people have done a lot of great things, and it’s a very rare award.”

Simone said he is working toward the Eagle Scout rank and aspires to be an engineer.

The Medal of Merit, presented to Simone by Shelter Rock District Senior Executive Brian Gorman and Commissioner Mike Flanagan of the Theodore Roosevelt Council, is awarded to those who have performed an act of meritorious service above and beyond what is normally expected of a youth or adult member of the Boy Scouts of America, that demonstrates exceptional character reflecting an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.

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