Sunday, June 15, 2008

Tornado tragedy

One of the heroes of this tragedy, 14-year-old Zach Jessen, with Governor Chet Culver. Zach threw himself on top of another boy to shield him from flying debris.

This weeks tragic tornado in Iowa that took the lives of 4 Scouters has spawned literally thousands of news articles and opinion pieces ... from as far away as Australia. This is the best I found.


It's hard to imagine the pain facing love ones of the four Boy Scouts who were killed when a twister ripped through their camp in Iowa this week. Don't forget them. They are: Aaron Eilerts, 14, Sam Thomsen, 13, Ben Petrzilka, 14, and Josh Fennen, 13.

This was the loss of four boys who were likely to become extraordinary men - the kind who would become leaders in their communities and put others ahead of themselves. How would anyone know this? Because they were Scouts, meaning they were statistically likely to succeed. There's no shortage of cadets, at the Air Force Academy as well as the other service academies, who were Boy Scouts. Many of them were Eagle Scouts, the pinnacle of Scouting's ranks.

Boy Scouts organizations are a genuine gift to the United States and other cultures of the world. They teach boys and young men to be prepared, instilling in them the life skills to live as men - real men who can survive hardship, build fires, change tires, handle guns and knives, and help people in need. They live by the Scout Promise, which says, "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent." That sounds like good folks to have around.

When an assassin tried to kill Maldividan president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Boy Scout Mahamed Jaisham risked his life, got between the president and the attacker, and saved the president's life. Boy Scout heroics are common, though most don't make news.

Moments after the tornado turned their camp to shreds, it was evident how the Iowa Scouts had been prepared to serve. They immediately began putting their training to work, digging through rubble to free and tend to their injured peers. While most children understandably would have panicked, the Boy Scouts went to work. Some broke into an equipment shed, grabbed tools and a chainsaw, and began clearing fallen trees from the road so parents and rescuers could get to the scene.

The boys who died can never be replaced. But their deaths should bring attention to the need for more Boy Scouts, in a culture that's suffering from an abundance of weak men, barely prepared to care for themselves. More Boy Scouts, like the four who died, would make our future world a much better place.

As word broke on Thursday evening of the tragedy I googled the campsite and found an email address for the director of communications for the BSA area to let him know, on behalf of our group that we were thinking of them.... much to my surprise he responded within a couple of hours that he appreciated the gesture.

Rest in peace boys.

Cross-posted from the Second Smiths Falls Scout website

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reaching for a new height

The kiddies and I attended the somewhat washed out fly-in breakfast at the Smiths Falls-Montague airport Sunday ... no matter, we were treated to a great performance by Bob Hanson and his crew, as well as a great meal at a great price.

In other local flying news, the local club has announced in The Record News (I'd link but they STILL don't have a website !) they are building a new clubhouse to replace the one lost by fire two years ago.

The plan is impressive -- a two-story 4000 square foot building complete with an Elite Pro simulator for the flight school, an overnight room and an observation deck. Also included in the plan is the construction of a new hangar to house a small interactive museum for the kids.

Kudos to the club for their ambitious plan -- and nary a mention of asking for tax dollars to finance the project. In fact, the club intends on raising the money from within, use a local contractor to frame and finish it off over the winter themselves.

How refreshing .... I wonder how many hockey moms will be wielding paint brushes to finish off the new arena ??

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

She has all the makings

to be the biggest "star" ever to come from Smiths Falls .... watch for it. A female "Tiger" ... perhaps to finally give the LPGA the respect it deserves.

Brittany Henderson of Smiths Falls was not to be denied her first CN Future Links title yesterday.

At the Stratford Country Club, the 17-year-old junior shot an even-par 72 to win the girls title at the CN Future Links Championship to win by a commanding five strokes over Jennifer Kirby of Paris, whom she had been tied with entering the day.

Henderson, who's due to play in a CN Canadian Women's Tour event in London, Ont., this week, finished with a 3-over 219 total.

Here's a profile of Brittany from the 2007 Spring Flagstick magazine.