APPLETON (NBC 26) — Two Wisconsin Boy Scout troops are being honored for their heroism in helping passengers to safety following Monday's deadly Amtrak train derailment in Mendon, Missouri.
Boy Scout troops 73 and 12 usually meet at the First English Lutheran Church in Appleton, but on Monday they were on the derailed train.
For their parents it was a waiting game, not knowing if their sons were okay.
"It was definitely... probably one of the worst moments of my life," Sarah Berken, mother of 15-year-old scout Isaac, said.
Throughout the day they were hearing details from the event in pieces, on and off the phone and via the news.
"Our hearts stopped pretty hard…at the same time when I heard his voice, I was so full of joy," scoutmaster Dan Skrypczak, who's son Eli was also on the train, said. "Before we heard from him or anybody else about him... there was a CNN reporter who was on the train and took a bunch of pictures…. And Eli's there with his shirt off, and his yellow Crocs running to help somebody else."
Berken details what her son told her, that they all jumped into action, almost instinctively.
"He said 'Mom, it was like everybody... we just reacted, like, we checked on each other and we checked on others, and it was it's just what we do, and it's what we were trained to do,'" Berken said.
It's a mix of emotions for these parents.
"Fear for your kid, desire to have them home and safe and, you know, help them with the healing process, and extreme pride," Skrypczak said.
The next step today was working to get them home, together.
"It's frustrating just sitting here going, 'What, what's next? What can we do?,'" Jane Suprise said. "But at the same time, the most important thing for us is getting the boys home, getting them home as a group."
The book is not quite closed on this tragedy, but hearts in Wisconsin are swelling with pride, awaiting the young boys return.