Lincoln teenager wins national Boy Scout award for helping mother during heart attack

A Lincoln teen is receiving a national Boy Scout award for assisting his mother during her heart attack.
Published: Apr. 30, 2023 at 7:39 PM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2023 at 12:33 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It was a normal evening for Joy and Ryan Mace, mother and son, until out of the blue, Joy was gripped with a heart attack. Ryan stepped up to help and now he’s getting a national award from the Boy Scouts of America.

It was the worst scenario and one Ryan never thought he’d have to face.

“It was just really scary for me,” Ryan said.

Joy couldn’t get up. Her pupils were dilatating and she was having trouble speaking. Ryan, just 14-years-old, swooped into action and immediately recognized the signs of a heart attack.

“What was going through my head at the time was, ‘Is my mom going to live? Where will I be,’” Ryan said.

Ryan kept his composure and contacted emergency services.

“Had Ryan froze or panicked or anything else, that would have cost precious minutes,” Joy said.

Joy kept breathing, so Ryan never had to do CPR. But he said he was prepared to, in large part because of his time with the Boy Scouts. That organization will soon be giving him the prestigious National Certificate of Merit for his behavior that night.

“Any person would do that for their mom if they were in that kind of situation,” Ryan said. “For me, I just say it was like a daily duty.”

For Joy, Ryan’s actions went far beyond a daily duty. She said she might not be around if it weren’t for his maturity and knowledge.

“Any parent should be thrilled, or I guess I would say, we as parents,” Joy said. “I learned CPR and first aid because I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, if something happens to my kids, I can help my kids,’ and I never thought it would come back full circle and that they’d be helping me.”

The National Certificate of Merit Award only goes out to dozens of people across the country every year, and Ryan will be presented with that award on May 23.

Expecting the unexpected and being prepared for when it comes, that’s what one Lincoln teenager...
Expecting the unexpected and being prepared for when it comes, that’s what one Lincoln teenager said he owes to his time in the Boy Scouts of America.(John Grinvalds)