Blog

Federal Wildlife Officer Saves Boy Scouts from Oklahoma Tornado

Federal Wildlife Officer Matt Belew. Photo credit: USFWS
Federal Wildlife Officer Matt Belew. Photo credit: USFWS

Thanks to the instinctive quick thinking and leadership of Federal Wildlife Officer Matt Belew, Boy Scouts of Troop 955 from Broken Arrow, Okla., in the Indian Nations Council, are alive and out of harm’s way. A tornado tore through their camping grounds at Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, Saturday, May 19.

The severe storm barreled through the Fawn Creek Youth Campground Saturday night when Belew jumped into action, evacuating 65 Scouts and Scout leaders just minutes before the big funnel hit. The officer led the crew of Scouts to the refuge of the headquarters basement to wait out the looming storm.

Once the whirlwind passed, the group found the campground in complete disarray. Trees, tents, and debris littered the grounds. Fortunately, however, it appeared the animals in the area escaped unharmed.

Boy Scout camp damaged by the tornado. Photo credit: Ralph Bryant/USFWS
Boy Scout camp damaged by the tornado. Photo credit: Ralph Bryant/USFWS

“One of those blue tents that was totally smashed by a large tree was the one my son was in,” said a Scout dad to U.S. Fish & Wildlife. “We had no idea a severe storm was approaching when your officer came and had us evacuate for shelter at the headquarters basement. I fear my son and others would have died had we not left. So, thank you.”

To read the full story, check out the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s story and discover how the crew of Scouts thanked the officer for his life-saving efforts.

Tags   

Hayley

Hayley Cordaro is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She loves sharing inspiring success stories and uncovering new ways volunteers and employees can make the most of their Scouting experience. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at communications@scouting.org.