Memory Lane: Sept. 11, 2003


From the September 11, 2003 edition of The Wayne Herald

Nick Klassen to receive Medal of Merit

Nick Klassen's quick thinking and lifesaving action have earned him a national honor so rare it is nearly impossible to describe how often the award is presented. Klassen's bravery last November will be recognized formally at a Boy Scout Court of Honor to be held Sunday, Sept. 28. At that time, his heroics will be officially commemorated by the National Court of Honor Boy Scouts of America when he receives the prestigious Medal of Merit.

Klassen's first ever baby sitting evening in the Jim and Denise Knotwell home started in typical fashion with the Knotwells instructing him how they could be reached- in the case of an emergency. After the Knotwells left the house, Nick began final meal preparations for the three children, Kellen, 19 months, Hollis, 6 and Griffin, 8. But the meal was never served.

"Just when we were about to go to the kitchen, Griffin came to me and said he smelled smoke in the basement," Klassen said. "When I got downstairs, I saw an unused stove had been turned on." On top of the stove were trays and rags that had ignited and the room quickly filled with dense smoke. Unable to durn the stove off due to a faulty on/off mechanism, Klassen threw the rags into the sink and guided the three
children outside where he called 911.

According to the police report of the incident, Klassen calmly and concisely gave all necessary information to the authorities- his name, address of the fire and whether the home had been safely evacuated.