Re: SCOUTS-L Digest - 4 Aug 1998 to 5 Aug 1998
Frank Sharpy (kent@EFN.ORG)
Thu, 6 Aug 1998 12:40:23 -0700
August 6, 1998
I stole this from our morning paper this morning. It is kinda good to know
that we are making a difference. If I have violated a copyright, I am
sorry. I think we all can use positive news once in a while.
Thurston's heroes win high honors
By ERIC MORTENSON <Picture>
It seems unlikely that there's a way to be prepared, as the Boy Scout motto
would have it, for a gunman in a trench coat entering a high school
cafeteria and blasting away with a semiautomatic rifle.
Nonetheless, local Scout council executive Jerry Dempsey says it's more
than a coincidence that five of the people who subdued and disarmed
Thurston High School shooting suspect Kip Kinkel this past spring were Boy
Scouting promotes ideals such as heroism, courage and serving others,
"These are high-minded ideals that suggest that a Scout takes action," he
said. "He doesn't just talk about these things, but he does them."
On Monday night, the five will receive awards for heroism.
Jake Ryker, 17, who led the charge despite being wounded in the chest, will
receive Scouting's highest award for heroism: the Medal of Honor with
The medal is given to Scouts who have shown unusual heroism and
extraordinary skill or resourcefulness in saving lives at extreme risk to
themselves. The medal has been awarded only 125 times since the Boy Scouts
of America was founded in 1910.
"It's very rare," Dempsey said. "In my 38 years with the Boy Scouts, it's
the first time I've seen it given."
The award will be presented by Jake's father, Robert Ryker, a U.S. Navy
diver and a former Eagle Scout in the troop Jake Ryker belongs to.
Jake Ryker's younger brother, Josh, will receive the Honor Medal,
Scouting's second-highest award. Brothers Douglas and David Ure and Adam
Walburger also will receive the Honor Medal. The Rykers and Ures are
members of Troop 51; Walburger is with Explorer Post 55.
Jake Ryker's girlfriend, Jennifer Alldredge, will attend the ceremony
Monday night. It will be held at 7 at the Thurston Christian Church, 6680
Thurston Road, Springfield. The public is welcome.
The ceremony will be the first time in Scouting history that five honor
medals are presented at the same time.
Other people have been honored for their actions in subduing and disarming
the gunman or aiding others, including students Joshua Pearson, Travis
Weaver and Tiffany Wright, and teachers James Crist and Bill Duffy. The
ceremony Monday, however, involves only the Boy Scouts.
"It says that Scouting prepares young men to take action," Dempsey said.
"They learn a way of life which sometimes results in courageous actions.
"They met a lot of tests, worked together and exercised leadership," he
said. "It makes a difference when it's time to act."
The medals have pins at the top, a red ribbon and a gold medallion about
the size of a 50-cent piece, Dempsey said. The boys also will receive
certificates and a patch to wear above the left pocket of their Boy Scout
Two students were shot to death and 24 wounded when a gunman opened fire at
Thurston High School on May 21 - Jake Ryker's birthday.
The Scouts were sitting at a table in the cafeteria when the gunman walked
in and began firing. Jake Ryker pushed his girlfriend aside, then realized
she'd been wounded.
"I saw her shot and said, `That's enough,' " he said in an interview two
days after the shootings.
"I pushed Jen over and tried to get her behind me. I'm pretty sure that's
when I got hit."
He charged and tackled the gunman when he heard the suspect's rifle click,
indicating that the 50-round clip was empty.
"I heard that click, and it was as loud as if someone was banging on a
brass gong," he said afterward. "And then I remember knocking him down."
The other boys followed close behind. The suspect pulled a pistol from his
waistband and managed to fire one shot before being disarmed. The bullet
hit Jake Ryker in his left index finger; only later did he realize he'd
been wounded in the chest as well.
Kinkel, 15, a freshman at Thurston, was arrested and charged with killing
his parents and with killing the two students at school. The four charges
of aggravated murder are included on a 58-count indictment. He's expected
to stand trial next spring.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City