A Deptford high-school junior who saved the life of a young teen Boy Scout during a JROTC event was recognized at a meeting of the township board of education on Nov. 14.
Francis Stark, a 16-year-old NJROTC cadet master chief, was competing with fellow cadets in an orienteering competition in Delaware on Nov. 4 when he suddenly heard a cry for help. Stark found the teen – also a JROTC competitor – chest deep in mud where he had become trapped while looking for his whistle and pulled him out.
Stark attended the board of ed meeting where he was honored in his dress uniform, joined by his family and Naval Science instructor and retired U.S Navy senior chief Franco Colamarco, who recounted the rescue.
“Fast-thinking Francis went on his back (in the mud) and instructed (the youth) to go on his back and maneuvered him around so he could get out, and in turn, pulled him out and freed him,” related Colamarco, who noted that Stark also got stuck and was pulled from the mud after his own shoes came off.
“But his fast reaction and his selflessness avoided a possible tragedy for this young boy,” Colamarco added. “Especially since he was a young boy in chest deep.”
Stark’s team placed first in the JROTC competition, according to the school district. Colamarco then contacted both Deptford High Principal Jason Strouse and school Superintendent Kevin Kanauss about Stark’s heroics. At the board meeting, Stark got a certificate and letter from Kanauss and Strouse praising his actions.
“On behalf of the Deptford Township School District, we want to congratulate Frankie for his heroism,” Kanauss said, “and for looking out for a fellow Spartan family member and taking care of the good of mankind and his fellow peers. We appreciate everything that you do.”
Stark was offered a chance to talk about his rescue but declined.