Flags lowered to recall Boy Scout camp tornado

Thursday will mark one year since a tornado hit a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa, killing three Nebraska boys, a fourth boy from Iowa, and injuring four dozen. Lloyd Roitstein, executive director of the scouts’ Mid America Council, says the camp reopened a few weeks ago and has been inundated with well-wishes since the twister struck June 11th of last year.

“The thousands and thousands of people who have sent cards and letters and emails and gifts to the four families, and every weekend there’s anywhere from 50 to 100 volunteers at Little Sioux Scout Ranch, helping to rebuild,” Roitstein says. “That part of it has been very gratifying.”

Roitstein says there will be special observances on Thursday to honor the memory of the four boys. “We’ve asked scouts and scouters around the country to fly their flags at half-staff that day in remembrance of our four outstanding scouts,” Roitstein says. “We’re going to try to keep that tradition going every year on June 11th.” A flag ceremony is planned at 10 AM Thursday at the Durham Scout Center in Omaha.

The camp will be open to the public on Friday and Roitstein says the first thing people will notice is the new visitors’ center, which doubles as a tornado shelter. Some damage will still be visible as a logging company is taking down fallen trees, but the ranger’s home has been rebuilt, the roads are all open and the trails are all cleared.

Donations for work on the camp remodeling project are still being taken. Learn more at “www.mac-bsa.org“.