Ole Miss student saved life as Boy Scout leader

Jack Hall
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

When a man attempting to cross a forested creek tripped and dislocated his knee, rendering him incapacitated and vulnerable to hypothermia because of the creek waters, the man’s wife sought help on the nearby campground.

There, Nick Burrow and other Boy Scouts were camping for the night. Burrow, the senior patrol leader and one of the most senior Scouts present, followed the woman with two other Scouts and two adults to the creek, where they found the man lying on his side nearly in shock.

Burrow sprinted back to the campground and retrieved a cot before running back to the creek. He cut holes in the cot for handholds, then the team carried the man back to his wife on the improvised gurney. From there, the man’s wife drove her husband to the hospital.

“We all knew we had a job to do, and we did it,” Burrow said regarding the near-death experience his Boy Scout troop faced that ended with heroic success. “I took over and led the rescue. When I first noticed there was a man in distress, I recognized that we’d have to get him out of there. It was going to get dark and cold soon.”

Burrow, who is now a University of Mississippi mechanical engineering student, is a community leader who has proven his dedication to service throughout his young life. His climb to the rank of Eagle Scout climaxed when he was tasked with saving the life of the man in peril on a hiking trip in Sipsey, Alabama in late 2013.

Burrow was honored with other troop members who helped in a special ceremony at the Mississippi Capitol that now features a plaque in their honor. Legislature members also commended the group with a standing ovation.

The event drew heavy media coverage, which culminated in Burrow fielding television interviews with local news stations out of Jackson.

The Northside Sun wrote a story on the rescue,” he said. “We were recognized and received a plaque at the state Capitol. WAPT showed up and interviewed me and another friend.”

Burrow joined the Boy Scouts at age 12 to spend time with his older brother, Walker, who had helped Burrow gain an appreciation for the outdoors. The two brothers stuck together in Troop 302 of the Andrew Jackson Council through both of their Eagle Scout achievements.

Walker Burrow is Nick Burrow’s senior by two years and is now a junior at the University of Mississippi.

“It was a great thing to see the role of taking charge of the troop pass to Nick as I ended my time as a Boy Scout,” Walker Burrow said.

Nick Burrow didn’t fail when it came time for his Eagle Scout project. “My Eagle Scout project was at the Community Christian Center in Jackson,” he said. “They help tutor and educate young people, and what I did was go in and paint the whole outside of the building, dug holes, and put in a bunch of bushes trying to make it look real nice.”

Burrow is also a competitive swimmer and sailor who played varsity football prior to incurring a career-ending knee injury.

“It was a difficult time, but I overcame the injury and its obstacles,” he said. “I had never been hurt before that point. This was a realization that I’m not invincible. I’m much more aware of what’s going on around me.”

In swimming, he won second in the Mississippi High School Athletic Association 1A-4Astate meet for the 50-yard freestyle, and third in both the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relay his senior year of high school.

Sailing for Burrow is more about being outside and on a boat. “I go down to the coast every year for sailing competitions, but I’m more in it for the fun,” said Burrow. “It’s a whole different situation sailing on the coast compared to the [Ross Barnett] Reservoir.”

Burrow is a swimming coach and head lifeguard at the Jackson Yacht Club where he also swims and sails.

His exceptional role as a leader through Boy Scouts also helped him decide on his current roommate in Stockard Hall on the University of Mississippi campus, JoJo Katool.

“I chose Nick as my roommate because we are both Eagle Scouts, which means that we have a mutual respect for each other and understand boundaries,” Katool said.

After graduation, Burrow will seek employment as an engineer. As an engineering student, he wants to get involved in engineering projects around campus and co-ops in the Oxford area.

He is involved in a land-based adventure class, while managing a busy course load and participating in Interfraternity Council recruitment.

Nick enjoys the family-like atmosphere that’s unique to this community. “Oxford’s a pretty small, tight community,” he said. “Everyone’s pretty much family here. It’s nice to be able to walk down the street and say ‘hello’ to everyone.”

Burrow left us with this takeaway from his time as a Boy Scout: “Always be prepared, because you never know what will happen.”




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