April 12, 2021

The buddy system saves a young girl’s life

The girl scouts are famous for one thing, in particular, cookies. However, they do so much more. Joining the scouts teaches a wide range of skills that are useful throughout life. It teaches you how to survive in the wild but also how to be a strong, independent, and caring person. It shows you how to be part of a team and how to be compassionate to others. It teaches you to watch out for others in times of need and gives you the resources to help others when required. I will always love the girl scouts for the cookies they bring each year but after hearing a story recently, I know they are much more important than the provider of a yearly treat.

Linda Walker joined the girl scouts when she was in eighth grade. In that year she learned so many important skills that she carries with her to this day but there was one moment that will always be with her. Linda was camping on a weekend girl scouts’ trip. She was standing on her metal bed in her tent when lightning struck.

The lightning hit a tree, traveled along a clothesline – burning all the clothes in the process – continued reaching to another tree, traveled down the roots, and connected with her tent. Finally, the lightning hit her bed. All of this happened in an instant, with a flash and a loud noise. Four girls were staying in that tent and three immediately ran outside. Linda didn’t, she couldn’t. The lightning had burned her instantly. 

Two-thirds of Linda’s body was burned and she lay unconscious in the tent alone. Linda needed CPR quickly or she would die. At that moment no one knew that she was hurt or injured. However, the buddy system and one girl, in particular, saved her life. 

At the start of the trip, the scouts had been divided into a buddy system. This is a system we have all used before and rarely give a second thought to. A low level of responsibility to make sure no one wanders off. Of course, if you and your buddy wander off, the system fails. Yet at this moment it worked perfectly.

Laurie Luna (who has the name that could easily be that of a superhero) was Linda’s buddy for this trip and the pair were becoming friendly over the camping trip. When the lightning struck Laurie fled the tent as the other girls did. Yet when she got outside she looked for her buddy, Linda was missing. Laurie ran back inside to check where she was and quickly found her lying on the ground. Laurie ran to get help and soon a counselor was administering CPR while another called for help. Laurie saved Linda’s life at that moment. 

Linda is eternally grateful to both Laurie and the buddy system. Linda would continue to be a member of the scouts and would later become a scout leader before becoming a school teacher. Sadly Linda never got to thank Laurie for her heroism. Linda was rushed to the hospital and after she got out she tried to find Laurie to thank her but was unable to reach her.

50 years later thanks to an NRP podcast that reconnects people, Linda and Laurie were reunited. The returned to the scene of the lightning strike and recounted how it had all happened and how brave Laurie was as a child. Linda remembers her as a kind and caring soul and says that fifty years later she was delighted to see that she remains that person. The buddy system showed its worth on that day and Laurie has been grateful to it, the scouts and her savior Laurie ever since.