Awards for bravery were given Monday to two teens held at gunpoint May 27 during a First Baptist Church youth group camp-out.
Bryce Wylie, 17, and Ethan Burns, 13, received certificates from Wellington police chief Tim Barfield and a standing ovation from a full village council chamber.
“Ethan Burns, while under extreme duress, risked his safety and ran from the group to notify pastor Jeremy Peck,” said Barfield. “Pastor Peck had left to assist another camper with additional supplies for the night and was at the top of the hill, unaware of the situation. This selfless act caused help to be summoned before any further action or harm to these children could take place.”
“Bryce Wylie asked to leave, was told no, and had a rifle pointed at him. At great risk to himself and using his body as a shield, Bryce grabbed another camper and fled the immediate area to safety,” the chief said. “Pastor Peck’s role cannot be downplayed either. After being notified that there was an armed man at the camp site, Peck confronted the man without having any personal defense weapons of his own. Peck moved to the immediate location of the armed man and negotiated with him until police arrived.”
Peck was thankful no one was harmed in the incident.
“We’re thankful for God’s hand in our protection,” he said. “We’re very proud of the calmness that the boys had and how they responded. The police response also could not have been faster.”
Councilman Gene Hartman told the group he did not know what he would have done in the same situation. Mayor Hans Schneider was also impressed with the quick thinking and poise of the trio.
“My first reaction was amazement,” said Schneider. “To have the courage and instincts and that age to go ahead and do the right thing is a tribute to themselves as people. It’s also a tribute to their parents and the upbringing that they’ve provided them. It’s good to have people like this in our community.”
“We’d like to think that we all would react that way,” said Barfield. “Heroes are people like this who are made in everyday situations who rise above their fears and do the hard thing.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Photos by Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise Wellington police chief Tim Barfield, pastor Jeremy Peck, Bryce Wylie, and Ethan Burns.