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Boy Scout Troop 134 bugle retired

posted Dec 8, 2014, 9:22 AM by Dan Rautenkranz   [ updated Dec 8, 2014, 9:29 AM ]
Brenda (left) and David Schreiber (right) join Sioux Council Boy Scouts Assistant District Commissioner Arnie Dwire during a retirement of the bugle belonging to Worthington Boy Scout Troop 134. The Schreibers’ son, Duane, had mastered the bugle as a Scout. Duane died as a result of a car crash 20 years ago.
Brenda (left) and David Schreiber (right) join Sioux Council Boy Scouts Assistant District Commissioner Arnie Dwire during a retirement of the bugle belonging to Worthington Boy Scout Troop 134. The Schreibers’ son, Duane, had mastered the bugle as a Scout. Duane died as a result of a car crash 20 years ago.

Twenty years after their son died as a result of a car crash on a rural Jackson County road, David and Brenda Schreiber were recently honored when Worthington Boy Scouts Troop 134 retired the bugle Duane Schreiber mastered as a Scout.

Arnie Dwire, assistant district commissioner of the Sioux Council, suggested the bugle’s retirement in Duane’s memory, and the troop presented the bugle to the Schreibers in late November. The bugle, enclosed in a glass case with a photo of Duane in his Boy Scout uniform, will be displayed in the Troop 134 cabin at Worthington’s Chautauqua Park.

The bugle is a challenge for many to master — most opt to play today on the cornet or trumpet — but Duane picked up the proper tongue movements in just a matter of days, said his father, David.

“In the military and the scouts, there are eight songs,” David said. His son learned to play all of them, thanks to the musicianship instilled in him by his mother and a band director.

“He played ‘Taps’ for his great uncle’s funeral,” David added. “He mastered that.”

Dwire said the bugle is now on display for the public to view inside the cabin. He has no idea how old the instrument is.

“It’s been around for quite some years,” Dwire said. “Duane was the only one that’s ever really played it. He would take it to Scout Camp and give ‘Reveille’ and ‘Taps.’

“I thought it would be more appropriate to have it retired in respect,” Dwire added. “Duane was a very, very respectful young man. Unfortunately his life was ended way too soon — it was a tragic accident. Those of us that knew him, we miss him a great deal. He was truly an exemplary example of an Eagle Scout.”

The Schreibers, who now reside in Lakefield, were surprised and appreciative of the troop’s actions to retire the bugle in Duane’s name.

“We want to express our gratitude of thanks to Arnie Dwire and Troop 134 for all they have done in memory of our son,” said David, who was scout master for the troop for six years.

“The Lord is always trying to give you signs when your loved one is gone,” added Brenda. By retiring the bugle in Duane’s memory, it provides another connection to him, she said.

Duane had joined the local Boy Scouts troop as a Webelo at age 11, and became a Boy Scout the following year. He had been a member of the organization for five years, earning his Eagle Scout — the highest honor bestowed on a Boy Scout — just five months before his death.

For all of the work he put into his Eagle Scout project — Duane organized the troop and planted about 60 trees at Pioneer Village — Brenda said losing him in a car crash in early December 1994 seemed like such a waste.

Duane had been a passenger in a car driven by an unlicensed teen who lost control on a rural Brewster gravel road on Dec. 3, 1994. The crash happened not far from where the Schreibers lived at the time.

While the driver survived, Duane suffered a broken neck and was placed on life support that night. He died the next day, and his parents honored his wishes to be an organ donor.

“We got letters of recognition that 70 people were aided from bone marrow and skin tissue transplant,” said David. Duane’s kidneys, pancreas, liver, heart valves and corneas were also transplanted in recipients.

Duane lost his life at age 16, and his parents now say he went from being an Eagle to an angel.

“A lady wrote us a very sincere letter just a few days before Christmas and said, ‘What a Christmas gift,’” David said.

That first Christmas after Duane’s death, Brenda said the family — they have two daughters, Sara and Leah — had a real Christmas tree. They counted 16 rings at the base of the tree, the same number of years Duane lived on this Earth.

“I think that was just the Holy Spirit,” Brenda said.

There were other signs over the years as well, the Schreibers believe.

The Schreiber family made a habit of always giving a kiss goodbye when leaving the home, and David shared a story of an October day in 1994 when Brenda had to take a trip to town.

Duane was upstairs in his room and didn’t come down when called, but when his mom got in the car and started to back out of the driveway, he rushed down the stairs and out the door, kissing the driver’s side car window.

Months after Duane’s death, in March 1995, Brenda was about to leave home to teach a release time class at church when she found lip prints frosted on the car window, just where Duane had kissed it. She was so moved by the discovery, she could only point the lips out to her husband. She had no words.

The Schreibers eventually moved from their rural Brewster home — it was too painful to drive the gravel road where their son had been in the crash — and moved to Lakefield. So many of Duane’s things had been moved with them. Brenda said it was her way of hanging on to her son.

Then, in 2002, the family lost everything in a house fire.

“That was another way of letting go,” David says now. “There’s always a reason for what our God does.

“Later in life, you can see where it may have helped,” he added.

Brenda said their own lives were spared in the fire after their cat woke them up.

“It’s all witnessing, I know it is,” Brenda said. “It’s what you want to think.

“I don’t care what they say — we’ve talked to so many people who’ve had the same experiences,” she added. “If there are people saying there is no God, well, good grief! What do you think of that?”

The Schreibers believe their only son, had he survived, would have likely pursued a career in the military. As an Eagle Scout, his gravesite bears the flags provided by the American Legion — just as the sites of men and women who served their country in the military.

“We only had one son, but now we have three grandsons and a granddaughter,” said Brenda.

A memorial to Duane was constructed at the high school in Round Lake, where he was a freshman at the time of his death.