June 12th, 2008
08:26 PM ET

“Be Prepared:" stories of survival

15-year-old Scout Rob Logsdon shares what it was like seeing and surviving the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado.
15-year-old Scout Rob Logsdon shares what it was like seeing and surviving the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer


Wednesday’s storm slammed into the Little Sioux Scout Ranch in Iowa. Four boys died in that tornado, and 48 people were injured.

I have to say as a former member of the Boy Scouts, it's really heartbreaking to see what happened. These were young boys who set out to help other people, work as team, and appreciate and preserve nature.

The Cub Scout ideals, something you learn before becoming a Boy Scout, are spelled out in three different pledges- that we would repeat at every meeting:

Cub Scout Promise:
I promise to do my best
To do my duty to God and my country,
To help other people, and
To obey the Law of the Pack.

Law of the Pack:
The Cub Scout follows Akela.
The Cub Scout helps the pack go.
The pack helps the Cub Scout grow.
The Cub Scout gives goodwill.

Cub Scout Motto:
"Do Your Best "

I really think it's important to know the names of these boys, now that you know what they set out to achieve:

Josh Fennen, 13
Sam Thomsen, 13
Ben Petrzilka, 14
Aaron Eilerts, 14.

The Boy Scout motto is 'Be Prepared' ...and that’s just what these boys were. According to officials, the day before the tornado struck, the scouts at the camp had conducted tornado drills... And when tragedy struck, some scouts performed CPR and first-aid before other help arrived. These boys rallied together and held true to their creed...

My thoughts tonight are with those young boys lost, along with my admiration for the ideals they lived and upheld.

Take a moment to listen to 15-year old Boy Scout Rob Logsdon, who managed to rescue some of his fellow Boy Scouts, who were trapped underneath the rubble of a collapsed chimney.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Severe Weather
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Anita B.

    My husband is a scoutmaster of about 50 yrs in the midwest. The death of any of his boys would have devastated him & his assiants. The way the other boys took over & handled the injured would have made him so proud. All adults involved in the training of these boys now know they have made a difference in their future. They are shaping the lives of those young men & making them into MEN who can handle anything life throws at them.

    June 13, 2008 at 10:42 am |
  2. Kristi

    I have 2 Boy Scouts who are on a similar week long scouting trip right now. They like the Iowan Scouts, love scouting. All year long they look forward to Scout Camp. There is such a dedication to earning merit badges, learning first aid, working with compasses, learning survival skills, and the list goes on and on. No other sporting or single class can offer young men as much as the boy scout program does. I commend the leaders of those troops in Iowa. It seems like they took every precaution to keep those young men safe. Thousands of people choose to live in 'tornado alley,' most are fortunate and others are not. It is the luck of the draw where and when a tornado hits. Would others have been as prepared as these Scouts to lend aid and to set up a mini-triage? We all could take a lesson from these Boy Scouts and be as prepared as they were.

    June 13, 2008 at 1:16 am |
  3. michael heath

    So sad to hear, why has not presdient bush not have gone out there yet to support the pole in the mid west?

    June 13, 2008 at 1:14 am |
  4. Derrick

    Ok....Its day 3 and where is FEMA and the National Guard, Is the another set up for our goverment to fail. Top this-Why do we sit around and wait until the last minute for something to happen. Remember there is a dam getting ready to breach and so are the levies, So what are they waiting for......GOD

    June 13, 2008 at 1:09 am |
  5. ruben gellibert

    May God bless those four little souls

    June 13, 2008 at 12:27 am |
  6. Tina

    My God, My God; Please be with these families.
    My heart aches for you all.

    June 13, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  7. martin

    What a sad thing to happen to the scouts at camp. However, I would expect nothing less of their actions, I have seen so many heros during my time in scouting. As a leader I broke my leg on a fifty mile hike, my scout carried me ten miles to hel, after providing all the necessay emergency medical assistance. Not one of those scouts were over 14. . The training and experiences of the scouting program is designed to produce the leaders of tomorrow, God bless the families of the fallen scouts, my prayers certainly with them.

    June 13, 2008 at 12:06 am |
  8. Craig

    As an Eagle Scout , veteran Scout leader, and former Iowa journalist, I think it is reasonably safe to say this tradegy would have been greatly compounded had it not been for the first-aid training and survival skills learned taught by the Boy Scouts of America. Many of these Scouts and leaders will undoubtedly receive awards of merit for lifesaving, and will be justly honored for their swift action.

    Some kids may think Scouting is 'geeky', and that sports are 'cooler', but when it comes knowing not only 'what to do' and 'how to do it' in the event of a disaster or other emergency, a Scout will always be prepared.

    My sympathy to each of the families who lost their beloved son.

    June 13, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  9. Dave Z.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Scouts and their families. The scouting institution has molded great young men and heros over the last century and today they have once again answered the call to duty and country. America would be better served if our young people lived the morals and principals of Scouting, and its simple;
    On my honor I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country
    and to obey the Scout Law;
    To help other people at all times;
    To keep myself physically strong,
    mentally awake, and morally straight.

    June 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  10. Mark

    As a former Boy Scout, I am so sad about the loss of the lives of those 4 people. How very sad for their families. But I am proud of the leadership and work of the scouts and their leaders. Boy Scouts is a tremendous organization and provides solid leadership training. It doesn't sound like the people at the camp could have done anything more to prevent what happened. OUr prayers and thoughts will continue to be with those families that lost loved ones and those injured.

    June 12, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  11. Patrick

    I knew that camp almost inside and out. I also staffed that leadership camp nearly two years ago. Being an Eagle Scout I live by the scout oath and law every day. Being prepared is something everyone of us should live by. It's just too bad.

    June 12, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  12. Shevonna

    I'm so sorry about what happened. I'm a teen myself, and it's sad to hear about good people getting hurt or killed. My heart goes out to their families, and everyone there. I hope everyone learns something from their courage to live helpful life, and to help others in any way that they can. Major props to them all!!!!

    June 12, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  13. Judy

    Living just an hour south of the scout camp, I followed the breaking news as this was happening. So emotional for the reporters, rescue workers, sheriffs, Boy Scout spokesmen before they could even get to the scouts. It took a good hour to clear the way in so emergency vehicles and personnel could even get to them! It must have seemed like days. And for the parents waiting to hear something, anything, it must have been unbearable.
    After losing Dish TV, I couldn't turn the computer off until the wee hours of the morning. I watched two news conferences before we were told the parents would be told where their children were. They had to coordinate lists: injured and uninjured, fatalities, who was at which hospital. They wanted no mistakes made.
    I prayed for all of us. Each of us was and continue to be affected. But of course, my prayers and thoughts are with those most affected by this loss of lives so young. I pray they all know they did what they could under the circumstances.
    To the families and friends, take it a day at a time and God bless you.

    Judy IA

    June 12, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  14. Ed

    A Scout is:

    Ideals that we all could benefit from if we lived lived our life by these 12 principals. So sad for the loss. From this they will gain strength.

    June 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm |
  15. SKB

    why did the scouts camp did not move away from approaching tornado?

    June 12, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  16. s callahan

    Rob drew upon his courage to tell the story and we are really proud of him for doing so!
    Years ago I was a leader for the Cub Scouts ..it was a joy to be a part of it....I still remember the absolute pride of the boys marching in parades...it's been nearly 20 years now and those boys are exceptional young men now.
    God tells us there is a time for everything...it may not seem fair, make sensem and hurt real bad....but there is a purpose.. In reading about these young boys in various news groups it tells me they lived more than some adults have in their lifetime.. Please know, our nation, particulary those of faith, grieve with you and we celebrate their lives with you . .I show some substaining words with you. Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, Everything passes away except God. God alone is sufficent. Have peace. 1Thess.4:13,14

    June 12, 2008 at 10:52 pm |
  17. Mark

    Heroes, one and all. Great to hear about youth triumphing over adversity, when the media paints them all in such a negative light. This story should be on the front page of every paper in the nation. Great work, guys, and I'm very sorry about your friends. May they rest in peace.

    June 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  18. Tim

    As a scouter I am proud of the skills these boys show. I am sadden by the death of four young men who could have greatly contributed to our society.
    Scouts often gets a bad rap - ok it is not sports but these boys knew how to save lives and protect themselves. Let give them the respect they deserve. A friend of my son would not let his school mates know he was receiving his eagle award because he was embarrassed. How sad. Perhaps a uniform change to polo shirts might keep boys involved and away from the unfair comments of their peers.

    I hiked the Himalayas for a month and my scouting skill were a major player. I am an eagle scout and proud of it

    June 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  19. johnney b

    Those scouts really were showing their skills when they protected themselves ( is that in the scout handbook?) they probably got their badges

    June 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  20. bonnie

    I would like to know where is our National Gaurd to help these people in the mid-west? Where is our President? Why is our goverment not there helping these people? Did we learn anything from Kitrina?

    June 12, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  21. Lesley

    What were the leaders/organizers of this scout event thinking??
    Why would they not cancel this scout outing for another time?

    It was obvious to me that the weather was a threat and I live in Canada.

    It sounds like they didn't make a very smart decision.

    June 12, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  22. Pat Watson

    This story made me stop and be very still. I want the families and the community to know that my heart goes out to them. I pray that they will find comfort in God's love as he give them strength through this very dramatic and person storm of life.

    June 12, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  23. Lisa

    Such devastating news, indeed. This seems to be the year of natural disasters, but it is encouraging to know that in great adversity people, young and old alike, are able to pull together and help one another.

    June 12, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  24. Peg K

    Am from Lincoln Nebraska and a former scouter until last year. I also volunteer in the area of disaster. Last summer I wrote and received a grant to futher their education in triage, light search and rescue, fire suppression, CPR etc. The program was called CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).. It enhanced their Emergency Prepareness and First Aid badges. The scouts from Omaha were not part of this program but they have taken the same type of training. I am so proud them not just because they are scouts but because they did what we all need to do-help one another. Let this be an example of human kindness, of determination, compassion, of survival. Of course my heart goes out to all the individuals and families. I know first hand how as a parent I was scared when my son was at scout camp and storms arose. Also as a leader being in a couple myself with cubs. Scouts are prepared–it's their motto.

    June 12, 2008 at 9:40 pm |
  25. Annie Kate

    I thought last night of the families waiting to hear if their child was safe or not – the anxiety and fear that would have been with them until they knew.....and for those 4 boys the sorrow their parents felt when the news was bad. My thoughts and condolences go out to these families and my admiration for the scouts who survived and tried to help their friends. The courage and presence of mind they showed was inspiring.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    June 12, 2008 at 9:20 pm |
  26. Cindy

    It was so sad to hear of these young boys losing their lives in this storm. But it was also great hearing how the survivors got up after it was over, took control, and saved many lives. It seems that their time in the Cub Scouts really taught them to stand in a time of adversity. Kudos to them all!


    June 12, 2008 at 8:50 pm |