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|Families, friends remember four Scouts killed in tornado|
|By Steve Jordon, Dane Stickney, Leia Baez and Virgil Larson , MNS|
|Aaron Eilerts of Eagle Grove died Wednesday when a tornado hit the Little Sioux Scout Ranch.|
The baby boy began life without many advantages.
Born more than three months prematurely to a mother and father who couldn't raise him, he spent a month in an incubator after his birth 13 years ago.
Nebraska Christian Services, an adoption agency affiliated with Omaha's Southwest Church of Christ, had a difficult time placing a baby who might have problems with vision, hearing or other functions.
Sharon and Larry Thomsen, longtime members of the church, were grieving. She had suffered two miscarriages, and the couple had nearly given up having a third child, after daughters Lindsay and Sara.
His mother said she believes Sam had a purpose in life that would continue.
"I'm so proud of him,'' Sharon Thomsen said. "He really had a heart for God.''
Scouting, his mother said, was important to him in part because of several older boys who were role models, "excellent young men'' whom he admired. His goal was to be an Eagle Scout, and he loved camping.
"Sam is ready for a week in the great outdoors,'' he wrote on his page in Facebook, an online networking site, just before leaving for his first time at the Little Sioux camp.
Sam's Facebook page lists his interests as Jesus, football, the Huskers, Xbox video games and the Roadrunners, a basketball team for home-schooled children.
"Sam was probably one of the nicest kids you could ever be around,'' said Sandy Glenn, his basketball coach. "He was just enthusiastic, eager to learn, real coachable.''
Glenn said teammates liked Sam, who tried hard and improved tremendously when he moved up from the Roadrunners' 12-and-under team.
"He's just a great kid,'' said Dr. Jim White, the family's pastor. "He was a typical teenager, always has a smile on his face.''
Larry Thomsen is a longtime Douglas County employee, supervising residential appraisers for the Assessor's Office and formerly with the Register of Deeds Office. Sharon Thomsen, a homemaker, also works for the Hyatt Reservations Center.
"The office is mourning and praying for the family,'' Assessor Roger Morrissey said.
The Thomsens and Sam's birth mother were not given information about each other, but the Thomsens are willing to talk if the woman wants. If she's still in the area, Sharon Thomsen said, she might figure out the connection.
The family had planned a special occasion for Monday. It's Sam's birthday, the same day as one of his sisters. Sam wanted tickets to the College World Series, Sharon Thomsen said, and that's what he was going to get.
Larry Thomsen said Sam's death leaves "a big hole to fill,'' and he and his wife are focusing on their daughters.
"Our family is broken, but the whole world is really broken,'' Sharon Thomsen said, and she believes God is the way for people to make the world whole.