On August 13, 2011 a man, apparently exhausted or otherwise impaired, fell face forward onto the tracks at the Lake Street Transfer Station of the CTA Blue Line while at least 40 people waiting for the train watched in panic.
Ben fearlessly reacted by jumping onto the tracks to save the man. People watching screamed, “Don’t go down there! It’s electric and you’ll get killed!” But Ben continued, staying clear of the third energized rail, hoisting the man’s unconscious body off the tracks. With help from onlookers, the man was pulled back onto the platform. Ben jumped back up to safety less than a minute before a Forest Park-bound train pulled into the station.
“Ben’s actions made me proud,” said Gregory Groeper, Ben’s father. “People at the station were moved and in addition to the man he rescued, thanked him for doing what others could not do.” Since the incident, Ben has spoken with his Boy Scout troop inspiring them to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice. The Chicago City Council passed a resolution and presented a certificate of honor to Ben in recognition of his selfless act.
“Parallel to the mission of the Red Cross is the mission of our family and of the Boy Scouts of America,” Gregory said. “Benjamin continues to exhibit his commitment to ‘being prepared’ in his everyday life through his work at school and in his capacity as a security aid at Soldier Field. He has been a guidepost for the youth in his troop, helping the adult leaders train and inspire them to follow his lead. He also serves as an inspiration to his siblings and cousins.”