HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This weekend, a local teen will fly to Washington D.C. to meet with House and Senate leaders, and maybe even President Obama. It's the trip of a lifetime that started with a simple act of bravery.
In October 2010, Koa Kalamau was swimming at Nanakuli Beach when he noticed two young boys nearby.
"(They were) getting rowdy like all boys do, 10 year old boys, getting loud and playing around so every so often I look back," Koa said.
That's when the Kapolei teen saw one of the boys struggling to stay above water. Koa immediately rushed to his side.
"I tried to grab him at first, (but) being all panic mode he was kind of whacking me, hitting me," Koa said. "I kicked up from underneath the water and grabbed his arms from the back and tried to calm him down."
Eventually, Koa's dad grabbed them both and helped pull the boy to shore. "If it wasn't for him, I don't know if I would have gotten there in time," said Francis Kalamau, Koa's father and scoutmaster.
"In those beaches the current pulls really strong, the undertow is really strong," Koa explained.
Koa's quick thinking earned him a special recognition from the Boy Scouts of America: the Life Saving award with a double cross palm. It's one of the highest awards a scout can receive.
"These boys are recognized as those who have put their life at risk to save another boy's life," said Francis.
The Boy Scouts also chose Koa to take part in this year's "Report to the Nation." He and eight other scouts will travel to Washington D.C. to appear before Congress. "They have to report the finances as well as how the program is doing based on the purpose of the Boy Scouts of America," Francis explained.
Koa's itinerary is packed. He'll visit the White House, the Pentagon and speak with the country's top officials.
It's an amazing opportunity for a 17-year-old who just wanted to help someone in need.
"After I put a little bit of thought into it after the fact like months down the line I'm thinking, 'Oh that actually was pretty cool,'" Koa said. "I figured it's something anybody would do."
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