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Local boys featured in national magazine for Scouts

Tyrrhien “TJ” Ostrem and his younger brother, Avery, are featured in Scouts in Action story detailing TJ's actions to rescue Avery from their burning home.

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Brothers Avery (left) and Tyrrhien "TJ" Ostrem are shown with their copy of Boys' Life that shares of TJ's heroism is rescuing his younger brother from their burning home. TJ is holding the plaque he received a year ago with his Honor Medal with Crossed Palms, which is the highest award for bravery given by the Boy Scouts. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Brothers Tyrrhien “TJ” and Avery Ostrem of Worthington were quite excited when their August issue of Boys’ Life arrived in their mailbox earlier this month.

Published by the National Boy Scouts, the monthly magazine features the brothers in cartoon form in its special feature, “A True Story of Scouts in Action.”

The brothers had waited a year for their story to appear in the magazine after learning they’d been nominated for the honor, which recognizes Boy Scouts for acts of heroism. It was one year ago that TJ, now 12, was presented the Honor Medal with Crossed Palms and a plaque for his actions as an 8-year-old to save his younger brother, Avery, then 4, from their burning home.

At the time, the Ostrem boys were living with their mom in Hayfield, a community about 30 miles southwest of Rochester. The boys were sleeping in their upstairs bedrooms when TJ was awakened by his mother’s screams for them to get out; that the house was on fire. She had been in the basement and inadvertently knocked over a candle, causing the fire to quickly spread.

When TJ joined his mother outside, he immediately realized Avery was missing and ran back into the smoke-filled house to save his brother. He found Avery still in his bed. The groggy, confused and terrified 4-year-old was dragged out of bed, and TJ carried him down the stairs and outside.

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Both brothers spent time in the hospital for smoke inhalation.

In August 2018, more than three years after his actions, TJ was awarded Scouting’s highest award for bravery. It was then that his story was submitted for consideration to the magazine’s Scouts in Action feature.

“We had to fill out paperwork and we gave it to one of the leaders,” said Brenda Ostrem, grandmother to the boys. “We had no idea if it would be accepted or anything. It’s a shock.”

While the story is told in cartoon form, TJ said they had to submit pictures of themselves to the magazine, and the images were created from those photographs.

“Each month, the kids looked in Boys Life, but it wasn’t in,” said Brenda of the mounting anticipation. “You never know if you’re going to get picked for this.”

When TJ discovered their story earlier this month, he said, “I was all excited.”

“I’m in Boys Life!” he exclaimed through the house, then went to show the special page to Avery. More often than not, said TJ, the stories are about Boy Scouts from the east or west coast who have done something heroic.

“This is the only Scout that has been in Boys’ Life in the whole region,” Brenda added.

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TJ was a Cub Scout at the time of the fire, and since moving to Worthington to live with his grandparents, he’s been a member of Troop 134. Avery is a member of Pack 134.

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