ROSWELL, Ga. — The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared for life,” and local Eagle Scout Oliver Yowell was certainly prepared to save the life of Andrew Warren, a whitewater kayak enthusiast from Roswell and a Georgia Tech student pursuing medical school. On June 9, the Boy Scouts of America bestowed Yowell with the rare meritorious Honor Medal with Crossed Palms. The Crossed Palms distinction is awarded for unusual heroism and extraordinary skill and resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save life at extreme risk to self. Yowell is only one of five in the nation to receive this honor to date this year.
Roswell Fire Chief Ricky Spencer bestowed the “Life Saved Award” to Yowell, citing courage and expertise in saving Warren, and Roswell Mayor Jere Wood and the City Council gave a standing ovation.
In January, things went terribly wrong for Warren. Caught in a deadly recirculating hydraulic, Warren was losing consciousness and other rescue attempts, including a ropes team, proved unsuccessful. With time running out, Yowell raced toward the scene risking his own life to the suction and pull of the hydraulic currents in a valiant attempt to extract Warren.
Yowell is an Eagle Scout with Troop 431 Roswell United Methodist Church. He has worked at the Robert Woodruff Scout Reservation several years where he lifeguards and teaches swimming, small boat sailing and whitewater kayaking. A junior at a private school in Atlanta, Yowell is a member of the Atlanta Junior Rowing Association crew team and the Ronald McDonald House Charity Board.