(The following is an open letter to Boy Scouts, their families and friends from Orlando "Lonny" Mo, a state trooper and former New Milford policeman who serves as commissioner for the Boys Scouts of America District 1 in Connecticut.)
Scouts, families and friends:
The last few days have truly tested the spirit and will of many and myself.
I went to church Sunday morning to gain strength before I started my day with the family of one of those lives lost at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
That day, one I will never ever forget, began with a radio call for all cars to respond to an active shooter at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Upon arrival, I responded to the school and assisted with the evacuation of children.
I took with me what has become my symbol of strength, a small Teddy Bear.
Every child, more than 300, received a hug from my Teddy Bear, as we awaited in the Sandy Hook firehouse.
After parents were matched up with their children, I remained with the families with no children as their liaison to any information. We were all taken to the training room of the firehouse waiting for news of the the child.
As I stood on a chair spanning two large rooms, I used "The Scout Sign" to quiet the room and explained to non-scouts the meaning of two fingers raised over my head -- the Wolf Ears are listening and we are quiet.
As minutes turned into hours, the word came that there were 20 children killed.
I felt the pain in the room as parents collapsed to the floor. The sounds of pain will always be heard and felt in my spirit.
Later, I was assigned to a family of one lost, and I remain with them, spending most of my waking hours at their home or in touch with them 24/7.
Other families also remained in communication with me during these days. I am proud to be a Connecticut state trooper and a symbol of strength during these most difficult times.
Your words and hugs through your Facebook posting throughout the entire time has given me strength and courage.
Thank you, all.
To my Scouts -- sorry to have to postpone our outing this weekend -- I know you understand, because I know the character inside each of you.
To parents -- hold your children close, then hold them closer and love them.
From the stories I am hearing from investigators -- these teachers, school employees and staff and administrator are all "heroes."
From the early onset, someone in the office turned on the school PA attempting to alert the staff.
The librarian ran down the hallway shouting "lockdown," teachers hid children in closets and cabinets, teachers grabbed children in the hallways and pulled them in their rooms.
The custodian ran through the hallway and locked all doors. Twenty young lives were taken along with six adults.
Today, the adults are heroes and the children are angels who have earned their wings.
I just wanted to share with you some true insight and, in doing so, I gain your strength to begin my day.
Yours In Scouting,
Orlando `Lonny' Mo
and Boy Scouts