Teen’s good deed earns free trip to U.S. capital

Last October, Jackson Twp. teen Chad Long, joined the search for an elderly man who was missing from his home.

He jumped on his ATV and set out to see what he could find.

Police and fire units were having no luck; friends and neighbors were coming up empty handed; even two aerial searches didn’t spot a thing.

But Chad, able to cover some rough ground on his motorized vehicle, hit pay dirt.

He found the man, Richard Lacy, 91, hung up on a fence by his shirt.

Chad reached for his cell phone and alerted searchers that he had found the missing man.

It turns out that Chad’s action — particularly reaching for his cell phone — had some unexpected action besides concluding the search.

Fast forward to this spring when Valley View Middle School principal Harold Bowman got a call from Ben Burkhart with the Wireless Foundation. He had read the newspaper article about Chad’s good deed and he had some more good news.

Chad was chosen as one of a small group to receive a VITA (Latin for life) Wireless Samaritan Award in Washington, D.C., on June 14.

Bowman, in turn, called Chad’s parents, Gary and Lori Long of Jackson Twp. Lori called Burkhart back and heard the words “all expense paid trip.”

The trip was for an all expense paid trip for Chad and a friend. Chad, 14, in ninth grade this year, chose Blake Williams, 17, a senior this year at Valley View High School.

Chad, his parents, along with Blake boarded a plane to Washington, D.C.

They traveled from June 13 to June 15.

Chad’s story was somewhat similar to the other notables.

One was Ryan Beck who, while working with the Coast Guard, volunteered to assist in relief efforts after an earthquake hit Haiti last January.

“They had a real nice meal,” said Lori.

“We sat with the guys who perfected OnStar.”

It’s a subsidiary of General Motors and uses cell phone technology to provide communications, security and safety features.

But what’s a trip to the nation’s capital without a little sightseeing?

“We covered a lot of ground in a couple of days,” said Lori.

“The boys really enjoyed the Lincoln Memorial,” she said.

Arlington Cemetery and the changing of the guards got high ratings, too.

While none of Chad’s congressmen attended the banquet, Mike Turner mailed Chad a flag that had flown above the Capitol.

“I think that was a very nice gesture,” Lori said.

“It’s all folded military style,” she added.

They’ll preserve it in a shadow box.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown sent Chad a note.

Unfortunately, Lacy died a month after his rescue.

Contact this columnist at (937) 696-2080 or williamgschmidt @verizon.net.