Local boy earns Medal of Courage

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Owen Quiroz, 11, is awarded the Royal Rangers second highest honor after saving a fellow Ranger and group leader from drowning
@TheSunGazette
EXETER – A local boy received an organization’s second highest honor for helping to save one of his peers from drowning. 
On Sunday, 11-year-old Owen Quiroz of Exeter was presented with the Medal of Courage from the National Royal Rangers office in Springfield, Mo. During the ceremony held at Walnut Grove Assembly of God Church in Ivanhoe, Owen was bestowed the youth leadership organization’s second highest honor by Royal Rangers’ Southern California District Commander Kirkley Peterson. 
Owen’s courageous act came a little more than two years ago when his father Patrick Quiroz, Outpost Coordinator for the Ivanhoe church, took Owen and his fellow Royal Rangers on an outdoor trip to Hume Lake in the summer 2017. The Rangers were swimming on a shallow bank of the lake when one of boys unknowingly backed off the bank into deeper water. The boy, 9-year-old Logan, did not know how to swim and began flailing in the water. Michael Dinely, Patrick’s assist coordinator, jumped into action to pull Logan back to the solid footing. Unfortunately, Logan was so frantic he could not calm down long enough for Dinely to keep them both above water. 
Owen ran toward the two and then dived under water. He swam beneath Dinely and was able to push up on his feet allowing the assistant coordinator to stabilize long enough to bring Logan back to shore.
“I was just trying to help a friend,” Owen said modestly, but his father put it into perspective. 
“He had never done anything like that,” Patrick said of his son. “He knew someone was in trouble and he acted.”
Patrick credits the Royal Rangers program for teaching his son to be courageous, but also alert, two of the eight character traits of the Royal Ranger Code, which also teaches boys to be clean, loyal, courteous, obedient and spiritual.  
Patrick likened Royal Rangers to the Boy Scouts, except the program is run exclusively by churches. Royal Rangers’ motto is “Reaching, Teaching and Keeping Boys for Christ.” The program offers outposts at churches in Exeter, Farmersville, Visalia and Selma. For more information on the Royal Rangers program, visit www.RoyalRangers.com. 
Patrick said Dinely had nominated Owen for the award at the beginning of 2018, but the application was held because they were rewriting the language of the award to further distinguish it from the Medal of Valor, the highest honor a Royal Ranger can receive. Dinely resubmitted his application in March and it was approved in July. Owen became the first Royal Ranger to ever receive the award in the Ivanhoe Outpost.
“The program made him, and all of the boys, more aware of how to conduct themselves, to help their fellow man,” said Patrick who has been involved with Royal Rangers for the last 20 years.