Statement Regarding the Tragedy in Western Iowa [Boy Scouts]

Statement Regarding the Tragedy in Western Iowa

Robert “Bob” J. Mazzuca
Chief Scout Executive, National Council, Boy Scouts of America

John Gottschalk
President, National Council, Boy Scouts of America

We are deeply saddened by the horrific impact of the devastating storms that tore through western Iowa yesterday. To the families of those who were affected, we extend our deepest sympathies and concern. To the leaders, Scouts, and emergency personnel who responded so quickly and effectively, we extend our sincerest gratitude.

The National Council has pledged any and all resources available to offer help and support to the stricken area. At the same time, we are moved by and proud of the leadership of our local Scouting team. There is no question that this tragedy would have been worse if it were not for the heroic efforts of the Scouts who were on the ground when the tornado hit. Council Scout executive, Lloyd Roitstein and the staff and volunteers with the Mid-America Council have done an outstanding job of responding to this crisis. Together, they epitomize the very best about being a Scout.

This tragedy has hit us all very personally. For BSA President John Gottschalk, it is particularly difficult because the Mid-America Council is his home council. Having been active in the council for many years and serving as its president, and as a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, John has close personal ties to this Scouting community. His heart goes out to his friends and colleagues.

We continue to keep all of those affected by this terrible storm in our thoughts and prayers. God bless our Scouts.

Please forward contact information and offers of support to our emergency response e-mail at Anyone interested in making a donation to help rebuild Scouting in the communities affected by the tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest go to Select “BSA Disaster Relief.”

The Scouts were attending a youth leadership training camp. There was a lot of heroism that day.

Information on the tragedy is here:
[/FONT][FONT=Verdana] Remains of a ranger’s house at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch can be seen after a tornado ripped through the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in the remote Loess Hills, Iowa Wednesday June 11, 2008. (AP Photo/Loren Sawyer - Onawa Sentinel)

“Last night, the agencies and the scouts were prepared,” he said. "They knew what to do, they knew where to go, and they prepared well."
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver praised the boys for “taking care of each other.”

I ended up listen to the coverage all night while at work. I think the reporters, including myself, were all taken aback when they heard all the stories, and then realizing the ages of those people involved – like knowing to break into the ranger shed in order to help clear paths for the emergency response, helping save those under debris, and to start a triage.

These young men have definitely learned the hard way the horrors of nature. But as expected, great good came out of a horrible tragedy. God was present in this place, and continues to be present in their lives. We should keep praying for their healing, because they may suffer post traumatic stress disorder as well despite their immediate emergency response. It really taught them the value of being prepared…at great cost, unfortunately.
May those young men who died, rest in peace.

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