LONDONDERRY — Ruby Burton of Londonderry went through one of the most traumatic and horrifying experiences a mother can experience.
Burton had lost her two children with autism, Samuel, 4, and Julia, 6, when they were playing in the back yard earlier this year.
Although her children were returned safely and unharmed, Burton was frantic while she was trying to find them.
Luckily, two Boy Scouts happened to be nearby and brought the children home safely.
On Tuesday, Boy Scouts Jacob Calligandes and Trevor Davies, both of Troop 109, received the Certification of Merit for helping Burton find her children.
Jacob said he was in his back yard with Trevor, practicing with their BB guns, when they heard screaming.
It was Ruby Burton, their neighbor, searching for her two children nearby.
Burton said the two children were playing in their back yard when they both went missing.
“It was every parent’s worst nightmare,” she said.
She said Samuel is very adventerous, and does not usually respond to when called, making the situation even more frightening.
“It was getting dark out soon and I was getting worried,” she said.
Jacob and Trevor are just 12 years old, but they relied on the skills they learned in Scouting to help their frantic neighbor.
The boys immediately got a description of what the children looked like, and advised Burton to call the police.
Burton said she did not know the wooded paths and trails behind her house were so extensive.
“We both know the woods well, so we started sprinting,” Jacob said.
While Julia Burton was close by, the two had more trouble finding Burton’s son.
Thirty minutes and a half-mile later, Jacob found Samuel safe.
Burton stressed the importance of the situation and thanked the two Scouts for finding her son, who was found near a small creek.
“They were very thorough,” she said. “They even checked him for injuries and ticks.”
Jacob had just encouraged Trevor to join Boy Scouts. They have since been very active in the program, according to former Scoutmaster Steve D’Esopo.
D’Esopo described both boys as very goal oriented and enthusiastic.
“They have hardly missed any camping trips,” he said. “They have made great progress both in and out of Scouts.”
The National Certification of Merit was first awarded in 1989 to Scouts or adult leaders who have performed a significant act of service that is deserving of special national recognition, according to the Boy Scouts of America website.