BSA Troop 21


John Pope Receives National Heroism Award


 On August 14, 1933, the Boy Scouts were swimming near Americus at Mitchell’s Mill.  Nine-year-old Helen Thomas of Americus, an excellent swimmer, began to drown from exhaustion and John Pope rescued her. The award was approved by the National Council in 1936 and was presented to Pope at a Court of Honor in October 1936. The actual certificate has Pope as being in Troop 5.  However, Troop 5 did not form until 1935 and Pope along with several other older scouts had transferred from Troop 1 (now Troop 21) into the new troop to provide it leadership.

According to Ms. Betty Pope, the two only met once after that, which was shortly before Mr. Pope's death and by chance in the waiting room of Dr. Frank Wilson in Leslie. Georgia.


October 29, 1936 and October 31, 1936

       Even though the event occurred August 14, 1933, the award was not approved until 1936.  The above articles are from 1936.  There is no mention of the incident in the Americus Times-Recorder during August of 1933.  There were several reports of drownings in the Muckalee Creek and other private ponds; however, it did not appear to be newsworthy if the person did not drown.



Articles are from the Americus Times-Recorder and

are used here with the permission of the Americus Times-Recorder.