A Boy Scout from Omaha is being honored today after he helped save the lives of other scouts with his first aid skills following the 2008 tornado that hit the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in western Iowa. Seventeen-year-old Jack Pape is in Washington D.C. where he’s receiving the American Spirit Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

“The ceremony itself takes place at Arlington National Cemetery,” Pape says. “That’s going to be a great honor to be surrounded by other Medal of Honor recipients.” Four boys were killed by the tornado and dozens injured at the Harrison County camp, but officials say without the Scout training being put to use by Pape and others, the situation would have been much worse.

In addition to his actions following the tornado, Pape was involved in a second life-saving effort in 2009 when he helped a near-drowning victim by performing CPR at a hotel pool. Pape says, “We were coming out of our hotel room and two boys came running in saying they pulled a little boy out of the pool and he was unresponsive and needed someone that knew CPR to take a look.” He performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

Pape learned that ability and many other life-saving first aid skills in the Boy Scouts. “They just said, ‘Learn this, you just might need it someday so just get it down just in case. Hopefully you will never have to.'” After using the training twice in recent years, Pape says everyone needs to know how to perform CPR and other basic first aid.

Pape has already received the American Red Cross’ highest award and he’ll be featured in the scouting magazine, “Boys’ Life.” For anyone who’s not involved in scouting, he’s a strong supporter of Red Cross first aid and CPR classes. Pape says, “It doesn’t take much time to learn all these skills and it’s something that everyone should know just in case they’re thrown into a situation like this.”

The American Spirit Award recognizes individuals who demonstrate extraordinary skill, professionalism and a spirit of excellence in a challenging situation. On his actions, Pape says, quote, “I didn’t think about it. I just did what needed to be done.”