Fort Mill Times

Eagle Scout project meant to save lives

Benjamin Cripe holds up a Vial of Life kit. For his Eagle Scout project, Cripe spent months presenting to groups to promote the Vial of Life Project.
Benjamin Cripe holds up a Vial of Life kit. For his Eagle Scout project, Cripe spent months presenting to groups to promote the Vial of Life Project. AMANDA HARRIS

A simple form is all it takes to save countless lives.

That’s the message Fort Mill resident Benjamin Cripe, 17, wants to send through his Eagle Scout project.

A member of Boy Scout Troop 422, chartered by the Anne Springs Close Greenway, Cripe has spent months presenting to churches and senior citizens on the Vial of Life Project, a program that provides free Vial of Life kits containing crucial medical information that assists emergency personnel when they respond to a call.

“This saves lives,” Cripe said.

The kits include a form that covers all the information a first responder may need, Cripe said. The forms are placed in plastic bags with a red medical decal on the outside and hung on the refrigerator. A matching decal is placed on the door to notify emergency personnel.

Lt. Ray Dixon of the Fort Mill Police Department first brought the program to Fort Mill nearly four years ago, after seeing it online. He said the kits are always available at the police station.

“We know the potentially life-saving benefits they have,” he said. “It’s another way the Police Department can serve our community.”

Cripe, a home-schooled junior, worked with Dixon to get the project started and created 500 kits to hand out. He also helped spread the word about the program throughout the community, speaking to senior citizens and others who may need a kit.

“A lot of people were enthusiastic about it,” he said.

Cripe said he didn’t want to do a typical Eagle Scout project such as cleaning up a trail or another type of community service done by previous Scouts.

“I wanted to do something more,” he said. “This project actually saves lives, and I thought that was amazing.”

Cripe presented at five places in the area with the goal of getting at least 15 households to use a Vial of Life kit. To gauge their reach, Cripe called 20 percent of those who picked up kits to see which households were actually using them; 90 percent said they were.

“It’s a program everyone should be a part of,” he said. “A lot of people think they are young and don’t need one, but it can happen to anyone.”

Dixon said he has seen firsthand what having a kit can do. Nearly six months ago, Dixon and another officer had to enter someone’s home who had fallen unconscious. The Vial of Life kit on the refrigerator followed her to the hospital.

“I’m sure the form helped everyone she came into contact with,” Dixon said. “These forms speak for the person when they are unable to speak.”

Dixon said anyone with chronic illnesses, senior citizens and anyone who may need to provide medical information should have a Vial of Life kit. The kits provide emergency workers with a list of current medications and any allergies, as well as emergency contact information.

Cripe said that though he will not see the results of his Eagle Scout project directly, he knows it was important.

“It feels good to think that maybe someday one of these kits I handed out will make a difference,” he said.

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