That terrible tornado at a Boy Scout camp in Iowa took four vibrant, young lives. The Scouts killed in the disaster were Aaron Eilerts, 14 from Eagle Grove, Iowa; Josh Fennen, 13, Sam Thomsen, 13, and Ben Petrzilka, 13, all from Omaha. Hometown profiles here.
Keep these boys and their families in your prayers:
Sam was the light in the room, in every room. He was the joy,” said Franklin Wood, the church’s youth minister. “He always kinda had this mischievous smile and he would come up behind you and tap you on the shoulder and you knew it was Sam.”
His birthday would have been Monday.
Aaron Eilerts was a young Renaissance man.
The 14-year-old sang, played the flute, ran track, played football, cooked and loved to sew.
Whenever a teacher at Robert Blue Middle School in Eagle Grove, Iowa, had a baby, she knew she would get a handmade blanket from Eilerts. He also sewed colorful pillow cases to send to hospitals and made fleece blankets for dogs at an animal shelter.
“He had endless talents,” said Dawn Sievertsen, the school’s principal. “His way of having fun was to do good things for people. He embodied everything scouting was.”
Like his father, Fennen loved trains and was welding a model that was big enough for him to ride in.
“He was one of the smartest and talented kids I’ve met,” Rothgeb said. “We just wish he would have been here awhile longer.”
Nearly all of Ben Petrzilka’s young life revolved around Mary Our Queen Church in Omaha.
The 14-year-old attended services with his parents and younger brother there. He went to the affiliated Catholic school since kindergarten. And it was also where Boy Scout Troop 448 held its meetings.
“He loved being in the Scouts. He was very proud of his involvement,” said Kayleen Wallace, the school’s principal. “We would have special days where you didn’t have to wear your uniform. Ben always wanted to be wearing that Scout uniform.”
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