FRANKLIN, Ind. - Boy Scout Troop 228 in Franklin is hoping to better prepare first responders in the county for water rescues. They are collecting money and buying rope bags to hand out to all emergency workers.
The project follows a heartbreaking drowning accident this summer involving five Franklin Community High School students in the Big Blue River in Edinburgh. Two of them died, and one was seriously injured.
"We saw this as an opportunity," said Cody Young, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader.
The scouts are one-third of the way to their goal.
"They're championing the cause to get as many of these rescue ropes into the hands of first responders," said Robert Croker, Assistant Scout Master.
The ropes float because the bag has some weight on it. Emergency crews can throw the whole bag, saving seconds when they count.
"To try to throw this to someone who's drowning, you have to unravel it. It takes a long time," said Croker.
Crocker brought the idea to his group after the drownings in June. He's an Edinburgh police officer, one of the first to arrive at the churning water.
Franklin Community High School students Jason Moran and Michael Chadbourne died as a result of the summer accident, while Sarah McLevish sustained serious injuries.
Two other students, Trent Crabb and Mark Nally, made it out alive.
Swift water rescue crews have those special ropes, according to Crocker, but he said basic emergency personnel do not. Rescue bags could've helped others get on the water faster.
"The idea of having a rescue bag easily accessible is very important," said Crocker.
That's why the troop wants to raise $10,000 to provide the ropes to roughly 300 first responders in Johnson County. It's a project pushed forward by tragedy, in a community still feeling the weight of that June day.
"We took this as an opportunity to say, hey this is something that needs done, so we're going to do it," said Young.
Leaders estimate one of those rope bags costs $33. If you'd like to make a donation you can mail a check to Boy Scout Troop 228, at Grace United Methodist Church, 1300 E. Adams Drive, Franklin, Indiana, 46131.