By Alyssa Schnugg
When Lafayette High Lafayette High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets Dustin Beard and Casey Ferguson helped an older man who appeared to be having major health issues at a recent Ole Miss football game, they kept their heroic efforts quiet and remained humble.
However, last week word got out.
“We didn’t really need a reason to go and brag about it,” Ferguson told Hotty Toddy News Thursday. “You know, I feel like anybody else if they were put in that situation, they could have done the same thing. You know, it’s just something we were raised to do.”
During the Ole Miss vs. Auburn home game, the two boys were working at the ROTC concession stand when they noticed a man shaking and wobbling. They asked if the man was OK. The man said he was and walked away and sat down.
After the game, the boys heard that someone needed help. Ferguson and Beard realized it was the same man they spoke with earlier – Butch Palmer, a long-time Ole Miss fan who regularly attends the games.
“We saw him struggling so me and Casey grabbed him and helped walk him down to the medical tents,” Beard said. “The medical tent people weren’t there so after 30 minutes, we took him down to the ADA shuttles area … I ran down to where the shuttles were and got some people to come up there to help get him to the hospital.”
Palmer went to the hospital where he was treated for having a stroke.
Last week, Palmer reached out to LHS principal Glenn Kitchens.
“He asked me to recognize them (Beard and Ferguson) to their peers as he counts them as the reason he is alive and that they are his heroes,” Kitchens said.
Kitchens recognized the two students in front of the entire school via a school-wide morning announcement.
Beard is a sophomore this year and Ferguson is a junior. They have both been in the ROTC program since their freshman year.
Beard said he credits being in the ROTC program for his quick actions that day.
“ROTC taught me how to do the right thing when no one’s watching,” Beard said. “Our core values in ROTC are integrity and doing what’s right when no one is watching.”
The boys have continued to keep in touch with Palmer who is recovering from his stroke and was able to attend the Ole Miss vs. Alabama game.
Beard and Ferguson were also recognized by the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department Friday for their life-saving actions.