This is the article as it appeared in the Daily Herald October 16, 2010
J.D. Grover's mother, Miriam, attaches the National Medal of Merit to his Boy Scout uniform. Grover performed a Heimlich manuever on a classmate during lunch and saved his life.
When 11-year-old J.D. Grover noticed that his friend Joseph Clarke wasn't laughing and talking with the rest of the boys at his lunch table at Freedom Academy, he turned to see what was up. What he saw was his friend gasping for air and turning purple.
"His face was purple and he had his hands around his neck," Grover said. "I asked him if he were choking, and he signaled with his hands that he was."
Just a few weeks earlier Grover had gone through some lessons in a Webelos Scout meeting on how to administer the Heimlich maneuver. "They taught me not to panic," Grover said. "I had practiced on people, but I had never had full contact."
With that fresh in his mind Grover went into action. He sent one of his friends to get the lunch lady, but she didn't pay attention. So, Grover grabbed his friend and started the Heimlich.
"I was kind of panicking at first, but then I remembered it was important to stay calm." Grover said. "I was taught if you panic while doing the Heimlich maneuver you could break a rib. I kept asking him [Clarke] if I was hurting him."
Clarke, 11, had been eating some chicken, and it was lodged in his throat. "At first a small piece came out, and after about 35-40 seconds a big piece came out and he started gagging," Grover said. "The color starting coming back to his face, and he was breathing again."
Clarke thanked Grover for doing that and for being there. Other people took notice of Grover's actions. According to Grover, that very afternoon his Scout troop was doing a refresher course on the maneuver.
"I told my Scoutmaster what I had done because that day we were reviewing the Heimlich," Grover said. That was on March 30. "I think back now and I never thought this kind of thing could happen."
On Sunday, Oct. 10, a National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America convened in Provo to award J.D. the rare National Medal of Merit award. In 2009, 123 Medals of Merit were awarded nationwide.
The award was presented by representatives of the Boy Scouts of America, Gary Pocock, the Rock Canyon District Chair, and Gaylun Smith, the Rock Canyon District Commissioner.
A special Certificate of Recognition and commendation from the Utah State Senate was also presented by Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem and a friend of the family.
"I'm so impressed with this young man," Dayton said. "I was honored he asked me to be a part of the program. He's obviously a young boy that is focused and clear-thinking."
Dayton also said she wouldn't pass up a chance to eat lunch with him and would hope that Grover were around if anything like that were to happen to her.
"I'm impressed he had that much instruction in his Webelos den," Dayton said.
"I haven't been the best Boy Scout," Grover said. "I'm just kind of good."
He also said it's important to listen and be prepared to use what you learn in Scouts.

JD and Joesph are wonderful students and we are lucky to have them both at Freedom Academy.