(BOWLING GREEN, Ky., February 7th, 2003, 10:30 a.m.) -- A courageous Boy Scout is on his way to the White House after he rescued a girl from a drainage pipe full of water last year.
Matt Knight, a sophomore at Greenwood High School, was practicing with his cross country team at Kereiakes Park in September when he stopped to tie his shoe. From across the park, he heard the screams of Susan Beth Meeks, an eighth-grader who had fallen into a pipe at the end of a drainage ditch. Her foot was lodged under a rock, keeping her head under water while she struggled to escape.
Matt found her and slid into the pipe, ducked his head under water and pushed her out. The rescue was successful, but Matt later said he was a little nervous as he jumped into the pipe with the struggling girl.
"You know when you run sometimes and the last 100 meters feels like forever?" Matt said. "That's how it felt."
For his act, he received the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms from the Boy Scouts. Since the medal's creation in the 1930s, only 166 people have received it.
This weekend, he and six other scouts from around the country are traveling to Washington for five days, to present the "Report to the Nation," which every president since William H. Taft has received from the scouts. The report will be given to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
On Tuesday, he's scheduled to visit the White House, where Matt said he might have a chance to meet President Bush.
While he is in Washington, Susan Beth will be at home in Bowling Green, grateful for his quick thinking.
"I thank Matt every day," she said. "I call him my hero."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)