GLASGOW — Three Barren County High School students were recognized Thursday night during the Barren County Board of Education meeting for rescuing a farmer's cattle from a burning barn.
The students — Jaxen Arms, a freshman; Jonathan London, a sophomore; and Mason Pennington, also a sophomore — were traveling along Stovall Road on Dec. 11, 2019 in a truck driven by Arms' mom, Shannon.
“They had just finished feeding cattle for Mrs. Glenna Coomer and were heading home when Jaxen noticed a family friend's barn was on fire,” said Amy Irwin, BCHS principal, during the recognition portion of the school board meeting.
The barn belonged to Gary Scott, who lives about 20 to 30 minutes away from the farm.
Shannon Arms dialed 911 and all three students got out of the truck and went into action.
“They got out of the truck, raced into a burning barn to get 80-head of cattle out and into safety,” Irwin said. “All totaled over $100,000 in cattle and equipment were saved on the extreme acts of courage of these three young men. Not one of these brave students ever considered his own safety. They all replied they knew they had to act quickly to keep their friend from losing everything.”
By the time the fire department arrived, the students had gotten the cattle and equipment safely away from the fire.
“All three students will wear both mental and physical scars from that day. All three have thought back on that day and realize now just how much danger they were actually in,” Irwin said. “All three were also quick to add that they would do it all over again without hesitation.”
Scott recognized Shannon Arms and the three students during a church service a few weeks ago at Mount Tabor Baptist Church.
Irwin went on to say that being a successful student embodies so many characteristics. One of which is selfless service to others, she said.
“It is because of their selfless service that the Barren County Board of Education is so proud to present Jaxen Arms, Jonathan London and Mason Pennington with our Student of the Month Award for January,” Irwin said.
After the award presentation, Scott addressed the school board. He said: “It wasn't the losing of the barn. When you get into a situation like … there's a lot of things going through your mind. It (the barn) was the main part of our operation, but when Jaxen came over there were tears in his eyes. He just said: 'We love you Gary. We're here to help you.'”
Jaxen Arms told Scott that he and his friends would be back the next morning to help.
“The next morning at 7 o'clock, sure enough, they were there,” Scott said.
Scott offered to pay the students for their work, but they refused.
“'We're not here for money. We're here because we love you and we want to help you,'” Scott said Jaxen Arms said. “To me, I wasn't worried about a barn anymore. This lady right here sat in our church ever since they have been babies. That just showed me what the Lord had done.”
Scott goes to church with the Arms family and said the church is very blessed to have them as members. He continued that he thought he would have said the same thing as Jaxen Arms, but said he probably wouldn't have done it.
“They did something out of their heart, not for praise, not for anything else, so my hat is off to them tonight. We thank them and appreciate the good, young men in our county,” he said.
After the recognition portion of the school board meeting, Pennington said it was his idea to come back the next morning to help Scott clean up after the fire.
“I figured we helped save his cattle might as well help him clean it up,” he said.
It was London who declined to take Scott's money.
“It just didn't feel right,” he said.
Pennington's mom, Megan, was present for the school board meeting.
“I'm proud of them,” she said.
Shannon Arms said she, too, is proud of the students.
“They were so calm, so brave and so mature,” she said. “I was a basket case. I was so proud of them. They just did it. I was very proud of them.”
Danny Arms, Jackson's father, was also present.
“I'm proud of all three of them,” he said. “They are good boys.”
Scott said he felt the students needed to be recognized.
When the students refused to take any money for helping him, Scott said he knew when he saw the look in their eyes that their offer was coming from their heart.
“I knew that was the Lord working in all of us there. It made me feel like I wasn't worried about my barn anymore because I saw that 16-year-old boys did it out of the goodness of their heart and that was the only reason they were there,” he said.
Others recognized during the school board meeting were: Kelsey Stinnett, a 2016 BCHS alumni, was absent but will be presented with the Trojan Torch Award; D.J. Dillon and Olivia Crowe, both BCHS seniors, and Zach Shearer, a Metcalfe County High School senior, for the Congressional Apps Competition and Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition; members of the school board because January is School Board Appreciation Month; Mike Houchens, school resource officer, for his service to the school system; and Whitley Stephens for becoming a Kentucky National Board Certified Teacher.