2017-09-07 / Life in Leelanau

Local Boy Scout helps save a life at summer camp

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff


THE MOUNTAINS of New Mexico provided a backdrop for Josiah Bakker’s summer job as a Boy Scout staffer at a Boy Scout wilderness camp. THE MOUNTAINS of New Mexico provided a backdrop for Josiah Bakker’s summer job as a Boy Scout staffer at a Boy Scout wilderness camp. Josiah Bakker of Suttons Bay has been nominated to receive an award from the Boy Scouts of America for saving the life of a young man at a Boy Scout wilderness camp in New Mexico where Bakker was working as a staff member this summer.

Bakker, who turned 21 last week, is now back home in Leelanau County, working on his family’s farm in Suttons Bay Township, Bakker’s Acres. In addition, he frequently staffs his family’s booth at local farmer’s markets around Leelanau County.

This week, Bakker also resumed his duties as a lab technician at Northwestern Michigan College where he works with NMC students enrolled in an engineering technology program.

Home schooled by his parents, Lynn and Alan Bakker, Josiah Bakker became an Eagle Scout in 2010 and has been pursuing an associate of applied science degree at NMC.


PLAYING GUITAR is yet another skill Josiah Bakker learned as a Boy Scout. Bakker performed for scouts and visitors at a wilderness camp in New Mexico where he worked as a staff member this summer. PLAYING GUITAR is yet another skill Josiah Bakker learned as a Boy Scout. Bakker performed for scouts and visitors at a wilderness camp in New Mexico where he worked as a staff member this summer. The Bakker family has been involved in Scouting for years. Josiah Bakker became an Eagle Scout in 2010. For the past two summers, he has worked as a staff member at one of Scouting’s “High Adventure Camps,” Philmont, located on 214 square miles of rugged terrain in the Sangre de Christo Mountains near Cimarron, N.M.

One of the young scouts at the camp had been peeling bark off a branch when his knife slipped, cutting two inches into his arm and slicing his radial artery. The boy approached Bakker with blood spurting from his arm.

“It was pretty obvious to me that it was an artery that had been cut,” Bakker recalled.

It was also clear that, without immediate and decisive help, the young scout in Bakker’s charge could bleed out and die.

The good news is Bakker had been learning first aid since he was in Cub Scouts in Suttons Bay. More recently, he completed advanced Wilderness First Aid training for his summer job.

By applying direct pressure on the artery and directing other people to assist him, Bakker stabilized his patient long enough for medics to arrive from a base camp and transfer the boy to a hospital. A surgeon at the hospital subsequently reconstructed the artery, and the boy has made a full recovery.

“I honestly didn’t think about it too much and just put what I had learned into practice,” Bakker said.

In addition to working at the Scout camp, Bakker has continued his affiliation with Scouting by working as an assistant Scoutmaster with Troop 131 in Suttons Bay. His mother, Lynn Bakker, has long served as a Scoutmaster with the troop.

Lynn Bakker noted that the local Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop in Suttons Bay will begin accepting new scouts this month. A kickoff event will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Keswick Church on County Road 633 in Bingham Township.

“We’ll be shooting off rockets,” Lynn Bakker said.

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