Elijah Jarred Wittum will be presented with the Carnegie Medal for Heroism at 6:00 PM on Tuesday, August 17th. The public is encouraged to attend.
The Carnegie Hero Medal, established in 1904 by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, recognizes selfless acts of heroism. The awards are given each year to individuals who place themselves in significant danger to save the life of a fellow human being.
Elijah Jarred Wittum saved the life of Marlon Porfirio on May 30th, 2009. On this day, Marlon, 15 years old, was swept downstream by the very swift current of the South Yadkin River, which was swollen and muddied from heavy rain. Marlon shouted for help. Wading near the bank of the river downstream was Elijah Jarred Wittum, a 16 year old high school student.
When Elijah heard the screams for help, he immediately entered the deeper water and swam downstream after Marlon, reaching him at a point about 30 feet out. Both boys then submerged when Marlon panicked and took hold of Elijah by the neck, but Elijah broke free and surfaced. Elijah dove back under the swirling, muddy water, found Marlon, and returned him to the surface. Holding onto Marlon, Elijah swam toward the bank as the current carried them downstream. They reached a tree that extended from the bank over the water, and Elijah grasped it. Men who were fishing nearby took Marlon into the tree and then to the bank, Elijah following. Marlon was taken to the hospital and fully recovered. Meanwhile, Elijah returned to the family picnic he had been attending… just another day on the river.
Not everyone sees it that way. Elijah, an Eagle Scout was awarded the Boy Scout Medal of Honor with Cross Palms, the highest honor for bravery awarded by the Boy Scouts. All Eagle Scouts are required to take life saving. The Boy Scout motto, “Always be Prepared” has seldom had such a visible result.
Elijah is the son of Jimmy Wittum and Cyndi Allison Wittum. His brother, Celeb Wittum is also an Eagle Scout. Elijah’s grandparents are Evelyn and Harry Looney and the late Bob Allison; Darleen Wittum and the late Jim Wittum of Kansas/Oklahoma.
Join us tomorrow evening at 6:00 PM to help Elijah and his family celebrate this well deserved award.