Haverhill Boy Scout Matthew Currier, 11, hugs his brother Nicholas, 6, as they sit by the pool where Matthew rescued Nicholas from drowning. Matthew received the National Medal of Merit, a Boy Scout award, for saving his brother over Memorial Day weekend.

HAVERHILL — He could have yelled for help. Or maybe he could have panicked and become frozen with fear.

But instead, 11-year-old Matthew Currier kept a cool head and acted without hesitation to save the life of his little brother Nicholas.

Matthew has received the National Medal of Merit by the Boy Scouts of America for his act of courage.

Matthew, the son of police officers David and Karen Currier of Haverhill, is credited with saving the life of his brother after he had fallen into a neighbor’s swimming pool last year.

“I haven’t earned any merit badges yet, so I was surprised to be awarded this medal,” Matthew said. “I think it shows that I didn’t want to lose my brother.”

“I just fell in, and Matt pulled me out,” said Nicholas, 6.

Their mother, Karen Currier, a Haverhill police detective, said Matthew did not hesitate when his brother fell into the pool.

“He pulled him out so quickly that Nick didn’t even have time to swallow any water,” she said.

On May 28, 2006, the Currier family was enjoying a cookout at a friend’s house.

While the adults were socializing by the grill, Nicholas wandered near the above-ground pool and accidentally fell in.

Matthew knew his brother could not swim, so he raced to the pool’s edge and pulled his brother out of the water just as Nicholas was going underwater. The pool was 4 feet deep, and Nicholas was barely 3 feet tall.

Nicholas was a bit shaken up but was soon doing fine, said their father, who is a Haverhill police sergeant.

“We’re always talking to the boys about water safety,” David Currier said. “Matt is pretty good with common sense.”

Matthew was chosen for the award after Scout officials reviewed acts of heroism performed by Scouts in the last year. He received the award this summer.

Matthew will enter sixth grade at St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish this fall and joined the Boy Scouts at the suggestion of friends. He attained his second-class rank as a member of Boy Scout Troop 27 in Haverhill, of which his father is an assistant Scoutmaster. Nicholas, one of Matthew’s two younger brothers, is a member of the Cub Scouts.

“Matthew’s quick reaction in a serious situation was remarkable,” said Debra Campbell, who hosted the party at her Haverhill home along with her husband, George Campbell.

“Matthew’s quick reaction to a life-threatening situation is commendable and inspires other Scouts that they, too, can make a difference in our world,” said Randy Larson, Scout executive for the Yankee Clipper Council — which has 8,600 members. “Locally, we only see these awards issued to our Scouts once or twice a year. In comparison, we issue about 150 to 170 Eagle Scout awards each year.”

At the urging of local Scout officials, David and Karen Currier submitted a letter to the Boy Scouts of America outlining their son’s quick actions in preventing a possible tragedy.

“I thought Matt would get something, some form of recognition, but not something this huge,” Karen Currier said.

The medal was presented to Matthew at the annual dinner of the Yankee Clipper Council, Boy Scouts of America.

The National Medal of Merit is awarded to a Scout who has performed an act of service of a rare or exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others. The medal is one of several types of lifesaving and meritorious action awards the Boy Scouts of America issue each year.

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