Victim in Kansas City-area Jewish center shooting was a Life Scout

reat-griffin-underwoodUpdated April 15, 2014, with information on where to send donations and condolences. See end of this post.


A senseless act of violence has taken a young Boy Scout from us too soon.

Reat Griffin Underwood, a 14-year-old Life Scout who was working toward Eagle, was one of three victims in Sunday’s shootings at Jewish community centers in Kansas. The alleged gunman is in custody and is scheduled to appear in court today.

I’d ask our Scouting family to please keep Reat’s family and troopmates in your thoughts and prayers during this tough time.

Reat, a high school freshman, loved camping with his grandfather, father and brother. His grandfather was also killed in the attack.

According to a family statement, Reat “participated in debate, theater and had a beautiful voice. Reat had a passion for life and touched so many people in his young age.” He was a big supporter of the University of Oklahoma and its sports teams.

To help bring his family and troop a small bit of comfort, I would encourage them to apply through their local council for the Spirit of the Eagle Award, meant to honor the life of a Scout taken from us before his time.

Though it’s been reported in news media that Reat was an Eagle Scout, I confirmed with the BSA and the Heart of America Council that he had not yet completed all of the requirements for Scouting’s highest award.

Of course, that fact doesn’t diminish the pain of what happened. I wish his family strength during this tragedy.

The family, in a statement, said they were grateful to the community for their support.

“We would like to thank our friends, family and our church, the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, and school community for the outpouring of love and support during this very difficult time,” according to the statement. “We take comfort knowing they are together in heaven.”

Where to send donations and condolences

This is from Tom Johnson, Heart of America Council’s James West Committee:

Send any cards to the council headquarters, care of Reat’s family.

Reat’s Family
Heart of America Council
10210 Holmes Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64131

“We will make certain the family receives any cards, notes and letters. Just add a note: Reat’s Family. Any donations need to be designated either for the family, or to a James West Fellowship,” Tom writes.

Also, here is what one Scouter on Facebook is planning to help this family.

36 Comments

    • Yes, send any cards to :
      Reat’s Family,Heart of America Council,10210 Holmes Rd, Kansas City, MO 64131.
      We Will make certain the family receives any cards,notes and letters. Just add a note: Reat’s Family. Any Donations need to be designated either for the family, or to a James West Fellowship, at the scout service as well.

  1. Kansas City Star had reported this morning that he “already attained the rank of Eagle Scout.” in the morning newspaper article.

      • I saw where his Eagle Project had been approved. Don’t know if that means it was approved to begin work on or it had been completed. It appears that the Eagle BOR had not been held in either case.

        • If all he was missing was the BOR he should make Eagle because the BOR can be done posthumously according to BSA Guide to Advancement. As a SM I would do everything possible to get the paperwork sent to national and then let them decide. My heart goes out to the family and the Troop. We lost a 19 year old eagle 25 years ago and the impact on the Troop was long lasting. Today the Troop has it’s own campsite dedicated and named after that Eagle so his legacy lives on.

  2. If he was in any way beyond Life Scout and going toward Eagle (which I am sure he must have been, since he was a Life Scout at 14) then he should be awarded the Eagle Scout rank with full honors immediately without question, If this iswould be an exception to protocol, then let’s make it!

    • The Spirit of the Eagle is the award that he should receive. Once we start down the slippery slope, where does it end? He could have been a Life Scout with 21 MBs & working on his Eagle project or a Life Scout with 12 MBs with much work to be done.

      My condolences to his family, but we should not make an exception as there is already protocol for this situation.

      • OK, I reluctantly agree. Do for one, and we must do for all. And who makes judgment as to who receives and who does not? Condolences to too many families of innocent child victims. Our prayers are with you all…

  3. Attending a vigil tonight for another young Scout who was killed in a hit and run while changing his mother’s tire on the side of road…..so heartbreaking to hear of another family who has lose a beautiful soul as well. Prayers for comfort, strength and peace from a mother of 3 Scouts.

  4. “To help bring his family and troop a small bit of comfort, I would encourage them to apply through their local council for the Spirit of the Eagle Award, meant to honor the life of a Scout taken from us before his time.”

    Seems to me the unit/family shouldn’t be required to apply. I’m sure a posthumous award is the last thing on their minds right now. Can’t the council or national initiate the process on their own initiative?

  5. Another senseless “hate crime” and innocent, precious lives lost. Yes, we should honor all of those taken from our midst, and especially recognize this young Scout. My personal condolensces to his family and friends and Troop.

  6. Very sad. Very bad. I cannot understand the hate that would provoke this kind of tragedy.

    My most earnest sympathies to all who knew them and the other victims.

    • MajMIke, I feel you brother. Sad indeed. Stop on by and say hello. Mojos miss you bud. check the enigma for the link

  7. I am an Eagle Scout who lives just down the street from where this tragic event occurred on Sunday. Knowing the Scouting Community is making their presence know is very comforting to the Kansas City Scouting Community. Thank you. We will do the right thing for Reat and his family. He will receive an appropriate Eagle recognition. Reat’s Grandfather had made a significant presence in Reat’s scouting career. Really neat to hear the stories of how they had bonded over the years during Scouting events and summer Boy Scout Camp.

  8. know question if this scout had achieved all the merit badges that are required to become an Eagle Scout then in fact he has achieved scouting highest goal of Eagle Scout and the principal of scouting “Sacrifice & Service” I believe there is no greater cause then the one that saves lives , Have the BOR and reach this scouts spirit.

  9. On the day of this tragedy, my nephew was actually being recognized at their spring COH for recently becoming and Eagle Scout, how ironic. I almost threw up. I cried for a great while.

  10. As a Cubmaster of Pack 226 in Wilmington, NC our prayers, & condolences are with the family & Troop of this young man. Our Pack meeting is this coming Monday, we will pause in a moment of silence.

  11. Condolences from a Scouting family in PA. This fine young man should be given the Eagle rank posthumously. He exemplified what Scouting is all about. God bless him and his grandfather. May they rest in peace…

  12. so Today during Our meeting we signed a card for the family and the troop. We are all very sorry for the loss.

  13. Troop 1818 in Atlanta hosts a second-night Seder for Passover. We will dedicate our Seder tonight to honor his memory – and to the others who lost their lives to the hands of a man who was acting in accordance with the vilest and most toxic hatred toward Jews and others unlike him.

  14. There are very rare situations in which a posthumous Eagle Scout Award should be presented. Obviously, Reat Underwood’s case is one of them. By policy, the Chief Scout Executive should be able to decide to present this award in this case and in any other extraordinary case.

  15. I just wanted to send my deepest condolences to the family,friends, and members of this remarkable young man’s Scout unit. There are no words that can be expressed about this senseless act, but please know my thoughts and prayers are with you all, now and always. Blessings Always.
    Dan DeQuoy

  16. I am currently out in the Kansas City area and saw on the news this morning that over 100 of his fellow Scouts finished his Eagle project and his family was awarded the Spirit of the Eagle award, it was truly a touching story.
    Shannon P Siefke
    Venture Crew 008
    Adviser

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