MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TX- Each day, newscasts all over the United States feature shocking stories about the horrific actions of young people who set out on paths of self-destruction, sometimes destroying the lives of innocent people at the same time. An incident at Bear Branch Junior High School could easily have become one of those stories, were it not for the heroic actions of a quiet Boy Scout.
In Tuesday’s Commissioners Court, Pct. 5 Commissioner Charlie Riley called it a “distinct honor” to have the opportunity to recognize a young man who “made a difference in his life, and another life and our whole community.”
Kristian Rau recently received one of the rarest of all the Boy Scouts of America’s medals and Awards – the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms. Commissioner Riley said, since 1911, the award was presented an average of only three times a year nationwide.
“The medal recognizes a Boy Scout youth or adult who has demonstrated unusual heroism, extraordinary skill, or resourcefulness, in saving or attempting to save a life at extreme risk to self,” Riley said. “This is what this young man has done.”
The Commissioner then explained how Kristian was sitting in the Bear Branch Junior High School gym bleachers when he noticed two other boys arguing over a basketball.
“The situation escalated, and one of the boys went to his backpack, took out a pair of scissors, separated them in half,” Riley said. “At this point, now it’s a knife.”
The angry teen, now brandishing a weapon, then chased the other boy into a storage closet where the intended victim was cornered and unable to escape.
“Kristian sprinted from the bleachers, past many student onlookers to catch the boy with the weapon,” Riley said. “As Kristian approached the scene, the boy with the knife had it raised in a stabbing position over the other boy.”
With no hesitation or regard for his own safety, Kristian approached the attacker who he says appeared to be about to bring the makeshift knife down and stab his trapped victim. Kristian grabbed the boys wrist and subdued him, giving the other boy an opportunity to escape. Kristian then trapped the aggressor in the same closet, and says other boys helped hold the door closed.
“Kristian saved two people that day,” Riley said, “Saving the first boy from being injured, and stopping the second boy from possibly making a huge mistake that would have followed him for the rest of his life.”
Kristian, now 17, attends Magnolia High School. He was only 14 years old when the Bear Branch incident occurred – not even yet old enough to take driver’s education or get into an R-rated movie. Yet, he reacted to danger like a grown man with training, and did so without hesitation. It’s no wonder Commissioner Riley was so impressed, he wanted everyone to know the young man was part of his community, and Riley was inspired to create a new Precinct 2 Award that will hang in the Commissioner’s Office as a reminder of Kristian’s heroism for years to come. It’s a plaque that has engravable plates so that each future honoree can have their name added as well.
“We’re going to present him with the first ever ‘Distinguished Community Neighbor in Precinct 2 Award’ this morning,” Riley said.
The Commissioner congratulated and took photos with Kristian and his family. Kristian’s parents and grandmother attended, along with a Scout friend.
Outside of the Commissioners Courtroom, Kristian was asked to tell the story of the incident, and his story contained the same details as Riley’s, but was told in his humble way, as he stood in his Boy Scout uniform adorned with the rarest of their medals and many other signs of hard work or good character. Like most heroes, Kristian didn’t seem to understand why everyone was making such a fuss, when it had never crossed his mind to do anything less than everything he could, having seen someone in danger.
When asked how long he’d been a Scout, Kristian smiled because he had to think about it and still didn’t provide an exact age. He said he began as a Cub Scout, is now a Life Scout and is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout.
While the well-mannered and humble young hero seemed a little uncomfortable with the attention and praise heaped upon him, his father was quite the opposite, as beamed with pride! Charlie Rau said when Kristian arrived home the day of the incident, he didn’t mention it to his parents. They were thankful one of the other boys present told them of their son’s heroic deeds. His dad wasn’t surprised Kristian had failed to boast about what he’d done.
“That’s kind of like Kristian,” Rau said. “It’s kind of, ‘all in a day’s work’, to which I’d say – that’s what Boy Scouts do. It’s really the law, the oath, the code that is instilled in Boy Scouts that’s reflected, and we’re so happy it’s reflected in Kristian.”
Rau said he and his wife were a little upset to realize their son had been in real danger, but extremely proud of his response.