By LA Parker, Trentonian Columnist – 

The past caught up to Adam Pietras finally as memories tethered with blood and courage, stitches and heroism, fear and familial devotion resurfaced.

Pietras, a Boy Scout enjoying life in Hamilton Township in the Fourth Congressional District represented by Chris Smith (R-NJ), gained recognition as a hero brother who saved his sister from a dog attack. Rep. Smith made his young constituent part of the Congressional Record on March 14.

Two days later, Pietras basked in the light of a Court of Honor as his fellow scouts of Boy Scout Troop 87, and members from the Veterans of Foreign Wars who hosted the Troop, friends, and family extended wishes and congratulations. Smith, shouldered by Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, highlighted Pietras during a ceremony at Switlik Recreation Center.

Pietras received recognition for an April 2015 incident when he saved his kid sister from an attack by a Bullmastiff in the family backyard. Pietras, 10, at the time, pushed his 7-year-old sister, Rachael, away from the charging dog then suffered bites on his wrist, ankle and left arm.

Meanwhile, his younger brother, Tyler, raced for help. The incredible story gained traction in May 2018 when Pietras traveled to Disney World as a guest of the Sunshine Foundation Mercer County Chapter’s annual “Dreamlift” event.

Pietras told The Trentonian, “Yes, I was afraid. Really afraid. But I had to save my sister.”

Rep. Smith introduced Pietras’ accomplishment and bravery inside the House of Representatives chamber. The notice identified “Adam’s remarkable courage —without any concern for his own personal safety — and his immediate and decisive response action literally helped save the life of his sister.”


Rep. Chris Smith (left) and Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri presented Adam Pietras of Hamilton Twp. with a U.S. flag flown over the Capitol Building in his honor.

Heroism arrives in numerous shapes and sizes whether the champion stands as Capt. Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III, who landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan in January 2009 or Pietras, delivering a performance in the face of fantastic fear.

Smith presented Pietras with a U.S. flag which had unfurled over the Capitol in his honor. The Reynolds Middle School in Hamilton student had previously received an honor from Mayor Kelly Yaede, a notification that portrayed Pietras as a model citizen.

“Pretty special,” Lisa, his mother said. “You know, it’s been several years since the attack. And sometimes Adam may come across a dog that makes him feel uncomfortable. We’re very proud of him.”

The Boy Scouts of America presented Pietras with its highest national award for lifesaving and meritorious action, the Honor Medal With Crossed Palms. Given only for outstanding and unusual acts that demonstrate unusual heroism, skill, or bravery and reflect Scouting ideals, the medal is only presented to Scouts who have ‘‘demonstrated unusual heroism and extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving or attempting to save life at extreme tragedy.

The Honor Medal with Crossed Palms is for a lifesaving attempt with extreme risk. Approximately 300 Honor Medals with Crossed Palms have been awarded since 1938, roughly four per year, which makes the Pietras accomplishment noteworthy.

And, it’s not like you wait around for that moment of truth. Many heroes make instantaneous decisions that occasionally places their lives in peril. One can only imagine the pride felt by his parents, Peter Pietras and Lisa Pitonyak-Pietras, family, friends and siblings.

Big brothers and big sisters can make the world of difference, not only as siblings but as protectors and buffers. It’s amazing that Pietras, standing in the face of fear and an oncoming Bullmastiff, stood up. We could all use a smidgeon of this Pietras courage as we face daily challenges in our lives.