- 14 years old
- Date of birth: Feb 24, 1994
- Place of birth:
West Point, Nebraska, United States
- Date of passing: Jun 11, 2008
- Place of passing:
Little Sioux Scout Ranch, Iowa, United States
|Thank you Aaron for making the world a better place because you were here.|
Internment at Mount Hope Cemetery, West Point, Cuming County, Nebraska
GPS Location: Latitude 41* 50.661'N; Longitude -96* 41.969'W
Aaron Eilerts, 14 of Eagle Grove, IA, formerly of West Point, son of Robert Eilerts and Carol Eilerts, died Wednesday, June 11, 2008 as a result of the Tornado at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch during a National Leadership Training Camp near Little Sioux, Iowa where he was on staff as a leader.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 2:00 p.m. Monday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in West Point, Nebraska with Reverend Gerald Gongeringer as celebrant. Burial at Mount Hope Cemetery in West Point. Local visitation will be 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., Monday at Stokely Funeral Home in West Point. Prayer services will be 5:00 p.m. Sunday at the Eagle Grove High School Gymnasium in Eagle Grove, Iowa with visitaion prior, starting at 2:00 p.m. until service.
Survivors include his parents, Robert Eilerts and Carol Eilerts of Eagle Grove, grandmother Janice Eilerts of West Point, numerous aunts & uncles, cousins, friends.
Preceeded in death by his Grandparents Ralph and Dorothy (Olsen) Becker and James Eilerts, cousins Derek Hansen and Tracy Eilerts, Great Grandparents James and Lorena (Eastberg) Olsen and William and Irene (Seeman) Harstick all of West Point.
Governor Chet Culver of Iowa has signed a proclamation in which an annual day will be celebrated to honor Aaron. The Aaron Eilerts Day of Service and Giving will be an annual day where Iowans are encouraged to participate in service and giving projects and volunteer projects across the state.
Editors Note: This story was originally printed in the Eagle Grove Eagle on July 4, 2007. Sadly, Aaron lost his life during a tornado that occurred at this same camp on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. We are running this story in his memory.
Thirteen-year-old Aaron Eilerts is a young man of many talents, ambitions, and goals. In addition to being a member of the Eagle Grove Swim Team, landing a role in the The Paddlewheel Players upcoming production of Wizard of Oz, taking private voice and piano lessons, sewing pillowcases which he gives away to hospitals and people suffering from illnesses, making countless crafts, and being a member of the Mid-America Council Boy Scout Troop 108 in Humboldt, Eilerts can now add to his list of accomplishments a certificate of achievement for the Pahuk Pride Youth Leadership Training Conference at the Little Sioux Scout Reservation in Little Sioux, Iowa.
Eilerts has been a member of the Boy Scouts for four years.
“I heard about all the fun things they did, like racing cars, and it made me want to join,” he said.
Eilerts started as a Cub Scout, eventually working his way up to Boy Scout Status, and is currently only two badges away from becoming an Eagle Scout.
With so much enthusiasm and passion for what Boy Scouts stands for, Eilerts set his sights even higher, striving to become a camp leader. Aaron completed his week-long training session with 99 other boys from across the Mid-America council. He spent a full week at Little Sioux camp in Nebraska, learning how to keep meetings under control, different ways of teaching classes, and public speaking techniques. With the completion of this course on Saturday, June 16, 2007, Eilerts is now considered a qualified camp leader and can train other scouts at camps across Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.
Eilert’s goal of being a troop leader was inspired by many ambitions.
“People look up to you when you’re a troop leader,” he said.
With the title, however, also comes responsibility…one that Eilerts is excited to accept. It means keeping troops in line and on-talk, and always being prepared for anything, like if a presenter is missing, doing the job for him.
“It was fun going through the (leadership) classes. If I learn these things now, then maybe I can become staff later and teach at places like Camp Cedars and Nebraska Summer Camp,” he added.
Eilerts has experienced many adventures since joining Boy Scout Troop 108. They have gone canoeing in the Boundary Waters, camping in the wilderness, winter camping…and the list goes on. Plans are already underway for a trip to Florida in 2008 where these young men and their leaders will spend time scuba diving and learning such things as how to repair coral reef.
Also exciting for Eilerts is his recent acceptance into the Order of the Arrow and Scouting’s National Honor Society. It is a very prestigious group and is one of the highest honors a Boy Scout can earn on his journey towards becoming an Eagle Scout. While Eilerts was nominated and elected by his scouting peers, not much can really be said to the public about this respected, but private, group. Those selected are those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives, and by such conduct, cause others to emulate their actions.
Eilerts did say that as a member of the Order of the Arrow, one is required to spend one night alone, in silence, reflecting on their goals and accomplishments. They are given very little food, and spend one day giving of themselves, working hard on important projects.
Eilerts mother, Carol, said it’s a group that challenges their members to focus on strengthening their mental and inner strengths.
Eilerts has achieved so much in his young life, but he’s got goals for the future he’s working towards accomplishing. When he turns 18, he’s hoping to have a Boy Scout Troop regionalized and fully active, with him as the Assistant Scout Master.
“I really enjoy Boy Scouts…the camping, canoeing…there are so many fun times,” he said.
Editors Note: This story was originally printed in the Eagle Grove Eagle on Oct. 11, 2006. Sadly, Aaron lost his life during a tornado that occurred in Little Sioux, Iowa on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. We are running this story in his memory.
Twelve-year-old Aaron Eilerts, son of Bob and Carol Eilerts of Eagle Grove, has $40 of birthday money just burning a hole in his pocket. However, unlike a “typical” boy his age, Aaron does not want to spend it on comic books or video games. Instead, he wants to spend it, and most of his allowance each week, on something that he enjoys doing, making other people happy at the same time. He wants to purchase material to make pillow cases…and then give them away not only to family and friends, but to children admitted at Wright Medical Center or Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Aaron’s obsession with sewing began only a few short months ago after taking his very first class on making pillow cases at The Honey Barn in Goldfield.
“It (the class) sounded like it would be a lot of fun,” said Aaron with his outgoing personality, yet sheepish grin.
This young boy completed his very first pillowcase in no time, and found a new hobby he couldn’t wait to do more of. In fact, he couldn’t wait to do more with it.
As a member of the Humboldt Boy Scout Troop #108, Aaron thought his new-found hobby might be the perfect way to earn his Eagle Scout life project badge. Since his family was planning a 2007 vacation to Memphis, TN (Aaron is a huge Elvis fan), he decided he would make pillowcases for the St. Jude’s hospital. He had planned to go one step further and take at least two days of his vacation and spend it at the hospital, delivering the pillowcases and visiting with the children.
Unfortunately, this plan did not work out as St. Jude’s was not able to accept the donation or allow him to visit since he is not yet 16 and for immunization reasons. Aaron was disappointed, but he did not let it stop him from making a difference in the lives of sick children. He switched his plan local, and Wright Medical Center has now received 42 pillowcases. He has another 42 cut out, just waiting to be sewn together and delivered.
Children fighting illness aren’t the only ones being graced with Aaron’s new found talent. Lucky recipients have included his aunt, his dad, some classmates, and his cousins in Iraq, one of whom received his in Washington. He was wounded in Iraq, sent to a hospital in Washington, and later had his leg amputated. The pillowcase may have been small, but it means a lot to have a piece of home with him during this difficult time. Aaron has also made pillowcases for wedding gifts…and he’s only going to get busier. As the word of his talent keeps spreading, more the requests come pouring in. As for poor mom, she’s still waiting to get her masterpiece from her son.
“He really has a wonderful eye for color,” said Melinda Peterson, The Honey Barn co-owner where Aaron buys the majority of his material.
Peterson, along with the other The Honey Barn co-owner, Pat Bjorkland, are so enthused about this young man’s passion and mission to help others, that they are telling Aaron’s story to anyone and everyone who will listen and everyone who walks through their doors. As a result, Aaron has received both monetary and fabric donations from complete strangers across Iowa including J&J Sports in Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge and Pella, as well as from Nebraska and as far away as Norway. Aaron’s big heart is starting a new attitude about sewing being more than just a hobby. It can make those around you happy as well.
“These people (who have donated) are kind, really nice people,” said Aaron in appreciation of their contribution. “They have a good heart…and really good taste in fabric for kids.”
While Aaron is the main entrepreneur of his pillowcase making, he does not go it alone. His mother is proud to be working right by her son’s side. Together they spend an evening cutting out material, usually about 40 pillowcases. The next night, Aaron will sew, usually around a dozen, while his mother does the ironing.
“It’s good to see him want to do stuff like this,” said his mother Carol. “It’s good to see your kids want to do the right thing.”
“It’s (making pillowcases) a lot of fun. Once you get into it, you just can’t stop,” said Aaron. “It takes time, dedication, and ambition so you’re happy with the final product, and I like to make people happy.”
Making pillowcases isn’t the only hobby Aaron enjoys. He actually keeps quite busy between Boy Scouts, football, voice lessons, church activities, and church choir. Believe it or not, when he is home, there’s still one more thing that he enjoys doing…cooking for his family. Aaron loves to cook and hopes to one day become a chef. The ladies at The Honey Barn have challenged him to design his own line of fabric on the side. Aaron’s got so much ambition, there’s just no telling what this outstanding young man will accomplish and who he will make happy along the way.
"We miss you Arron and think of you and how you lived your life daily. Ray & Syras payed tribute to Aaron yesterday by holding Scout Sunday in our Church. Ray spoke about your life. They handed out smiley buttons also. We are so proud of what you accomplished in your short life!!!!"
"Sending love and peace to you sweet Aaron. You are in safe arms of God now"
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