15-year-old Troy Boy Scout receives Heroism Award after saving family in rafting incident

Multiple family members were struggling in water

A 15-year-old from Troy is being honored after saving multiple family members from a rafting incident.
A 15-year-old from Troy is being honored after saving multiple family members from a rafting incident.

TROY, Mich. – A 15-year-old from Troy is being honored after saving multiple family members from a rafting incident.

Parker Mills was 14 years old at the time of the incident. He was in an inflatable raft made for five on the Sturgeon River in 2020 when the raft went under the water because of a whirlpool.

Mills was able to help his family members who were struggling in the water.

“I realize like, who’s here? Owen, Kennedy. I’m missing two people, and then I feel under the boat -- someone slamming the top of it. Then I got them out. And then I got back up and then I saw my mom wasn’t anywhere to be found and I was like, ‘Oh. That’s not good,’” Mills said.

His mother, Julie, was underwater for five minutes before she was pulled from the river. She said at one point she started to give up.

“I felt Parker starting to pull my hand out onto a ring of the boat. I’m still underwater, so he pulled my other hand and held it up against a tree. I could hear him talking to me, but I couldn’t breathe or talk,” Julie said.

Mills was presented with the Boy Scouts of America Heroism Award. Troy officials held an event to celebrate the award.

“This is kind of a big deal and still to this day I don’t really realize how big of a deal this is. I just can’t process what I did,” Mills said.

Only 30 of the medals are awarded each year across the country.

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About the Authors:

Victor Williams joined Local 4 News in October of 2019 after working for WOIO in Cleveland, OH, WLOX News in Biloxi, MS, and WBBJ in Jackson, TN. Victor developed a love for journalism after realizing he was a great speaker and writer at an early age.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.