Copenhagen youth receives award for saving a boy’s life

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 8:09 AM EDT
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COPENHAGEN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Surrounded by loved ones, teachers, and flashes of the camera, 12-year-old Hunter Booth of Copenhagen was given the American Legion Youth Hero Award.

It’s given to kids who are credited with saving a life, which Hunter did while in Florida on a family vacation last month.

He was in the pool, saw a young child go underwater, and sprang into action. It was that quick thinking that led to the award.

“It feels nice,” he said. “It’s just, I haven’t ever had anything this nice.”

Hunter says he found out a couple weeks ago that he was going to receive the award, which is given to about 100 kids in the state each year.

But Tuesday’s ceremony came as a surprise to him. Hunter was told they were going to celebrate his aunt Debra for being a longtime member of the American Legion.

But Hunter put two and two together when he saw a van with his name on it in the parking lot.

“There’s a van out there that says Hunter Booth,” he said, “and I’m, like, ‘oh, boy.’”

The ceremony was brief. Hunter was given a certificate, a medal, a personalized jacket showing off his accomplishment, and a hat with his name on it.

But for Hunter, there’s something more important.

“Just having the knowledge that I saved that kid.”

That attitude comes as no surprise to his mother, Heather Dorchester.

“He’s got such a big heart,” she said. “He’s so loving that if he does see somebody that needs help, like, no doubt he’s going to help them.”

Hunter says celebrating with his family and teachers made the day even more a special -- a day when he was larger than life.

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