Posted by Bob Johnson Jr.
On March 18, I had the honor of attending the Boy Scout Troop 99’s Court of Honor Awards ceremony held at Big Creek Park in Chardon.  The ceremony is a bi-yearly program to honor scouts for their rank changes and the badges they have earned over the past six months.  Approximately 20 scouts from Troop 99 in Newbury attended and took part in the ceremony that recognized a broad range of accomplishments of their efforts. 
After the Scout and Scouter awards were presented, Dave Terrill and I from the Rotary Club of Burton-Middlefield presented a special Paul Harris Fellowship Award to Assistant Scout Master Bob Brooker.  The Paul Harris award is given to Rotarians in recognition of their contribution of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.  Additionally Rotary Clubs will use the award to recognize Rotarian members for special humanitarian service to the community.  Finally, the award may be presented to members of the community that have demonstrated extraordinary levels of service and giving to their community.  Bob has demonstrated his service to Troop 99 over the years as well as by his service to the FBI.  
Last fall, Bob gave a presentation to Burton Middlefield Rotary about experiences he and his fellow FBI field office members had during the 9-11 attacks in New York city.   As part of the New York City FBI field office, Bob was located about two blocks from where the twin towers stood. As that day’s events began to unfold, Bob and other team members heard the planes crash into the towers and the first tower collapse. As they began to understand the severity of the strikes from news on TV, Bob and other team members began to make their way to the twin towers against a mass group of people that were fleeing the scene.  As they approached the towers and could begin to see the destruction, they were forced to seek shelter as the second tower collapsed.   
After regrouping with the rest of the FBI field office, Bob and fellow FBI agents began working with other first responders to assist people in need, getting people evacuated from the area, and making sure the area was secured. 
Soon the FBI’s task turned from the immediate response of helping people at the scene of the two collapsed towers to the search for clues explaining happened and for the black boxes from the planes that struck the towers. Bob spent almost six months sifting through debris, interviewing witnesses at all hours of the day and night, and working to try to come up with anything that could help explain exactly what happened. Though they never did find the planes black boxes, Bob shared what he witnessed and how people in New York came together during the days, weeks, and months after the attacks and people would line the bridge into Manhattan holding signs and waving flags thanking the first responders as they would head back into the city each day to continue their mission on investigating this tragedy.  
Burton Middlefield Rotary is very grateful for all the work that Bob and other first responders did during 911 as well as for our military men and women who stepped up and continue to step up to serve and protect our county. After hearing about Bob’s experience in New York as well as for his tireless work with Scout Troop 99. The Rotary Club of Burton-Middlefield felt Bob Brooker deserved a Paul Harris Fellowship Award as a true community hero. Burton Middlefield Rotary is truly grateful for his service.
Photo (l-r)BMR member, Bob Johnson, Paul Harris Fellowship Award recipient Assistant Scout Master Bob Brooker and BMR member Dave Terrill.