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.

About Bryan Wendell 2801 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is senior editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.