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SHINING MOMENTS: REMOVING THE POISON

SHARE SHINING MOMENTS: REMOVING THE POISON

Apitoni Funaki, 14-year-old senior patrol leader of Boy Scout Troop 795, chartered to the Lawndale Ward, Torrance California North Stake, was bitten by a rattlesnake during a campout at Horseflats Camp in the Angeles National Forest on July 12, 1994. Thanks to the quick action of three fellow Scouts and his Scoutmaster, he can now look back on that day and tell about it.

Aaronic Priesthood holders Lee Morales, David Koons and Eric Berg, all now Eagle Scouts, put to use that day the training they'd been given by their Scoutmaster, Larry Ragle.It was about 5 p.m. when Api, a teacher in the Lawndale Ward, went walking alone up a hill and stepped on a rattlesnake that then bit him. He yelled back to the other Scouts, "I think I've been bitten by a snake." But since he was laughing (from fright) and hopping down the hill, they thought at first he was kidding around.

But they quickly decided he was serious and they told him to sit down where he was. Afraid the snake was still nearby, he continued hopping toward them. Blood on his sock convinced the other Scouts that he had been bitten.

The Scoutmaster pushed Api to the ground and 12-year-old Eric began pumping the venom out of his leg using a snake-venom extractor. "The liquid was all orange colored," Eric said. "I knew he had been bitten more than once because when I cleaned the wound off, there were three holes on the bottom wound and two inches up there was another big wound. Anna Ragle, the Scoutmaster's wife, tied a constriction band around Api's leg and Lee began pumping on the bites, too.

David came, and he and Lee, both 17, picked up Api and loaded him into the back of Brother Ragle's pickup. David jumped into the truck and took over pumping the venom out of the leg. Lee kept talking to Api all through the trip to keep his spirits up and to keep him awake.

Brother Ragle drove to the nearby Chilao Visitors Center, arriving just after it closed. Anna jumped out and ran to the pay phone and called 911, and paramedics arrived within five minutes. "As they got to the truck, they were thrilled to see we had already begun pumping," David said. They told Brother Ragle to follow them to a wide place in the road where a helicopter could land.

Sister Ragle went with Api to the hospital while Brother Ragle and David returned to camp. David said, "We felt like we did what was needed for this emergency, and prayed that for Api, it would be enough." Api fully recovered without any ill effects.