Wednesday, April 30, 2014

TOP STORY >> Youngest victims remembered

Leader staff writer

When Alderman Tim McMinn, the pastor at Sylvan Hills Community Church, gave the invocation to start Monday night’s Sherwood City Council meeting asking for prayers, help, guidance and assistance for victims of Sunday’s deadly tornadoes, he had no idea how close to home the tragedy hit.

About 10 minutes into the meeting, Alderman Mike Sanders, a member of the parks and recreation committee and who is involved in the city’s youth sports program, told the council and a crowd of about 100 that two of the 11 dead in Vilonia were  young boys who had recently moved from Sherwood to Vilonia. “They were very active in our baseball program,” he said.

Before the meeting ended, names of the dead had been released and he told the council that the young boys were Cameron and Tyler Smith, ages 8 and 7, respectively. They lived on Cody Lane in Vilonia.

Sanders said the boys’ parents, Daniel and April, were severely injured in the tornado and were taken to different hospitals in Little Rock.

Robert Birch, president of the Sherwood Optimist Club, coached Cameron the past three years on five different ball teams and Tyler this past summer.

“We were all one big family,” Birch said. “Cameron spent a lot of time over at the house. He was a very quiet, respectful, wonderful young man. Tyler was the more rambunctious of the two,” he said. “But wherever Cameron went Tyler followed.”

Birch said from his understanding, the family followed all the proper emergency procedures. “They were hunkered down, but there is nothing left of their home except a concrete slab.”

He said the youth sports community of Sherwood already filled up an 18-foot box truck of supplies and needed items for the victims. “We are going to take it to the church where Cameron and Tyler went in Vilonia,” Birch said.

“We hope to have three, four or five more loads by Saturday,” he said. Donations are being accepted at the Sherwood Sports Complex, the softball or baseball side, from noon to 9 p.m. through Friday, and possibly into Saturday.

“It is unbelievable how the Sherwood community has responded to this,” Birch said, “from moments of silence at each ball game to cash donations, volunteers and a truck load of supplies.”