SOUTH WHITLEY — Two Whitko Jr./Sr High School students were inaugural recipients of the Whitko Valor Award at the Whitko School Board of Trustees meeting, Jan. 20.
Matthew and William Farner, twin brothers and seniors at Whitko Jr./Sr. High School, were the inaugural recipients of the award. Whiko Jr./Sr. High School Principal Jake Everett presented the award on behalf of Whitko Community Schools.
In the early hours of Dec. 31, 2019, the brothers awoke to an unfolding emergency involving their next-door neighbors, the Minix family.
“The home was ablaze and the family was in need of immediate assistance,” said Everett.
“Without hesitation or thought for their own personal safety,” Everett said, the brothers sprung into action. They helped the family as they were trapped on the roof of their burning home. The Farners helped by “catching family members off the roof as well as climbing an A-frame ladder to pull the family members to safety,” said Everett.
Everett took the opportunity, in front of the school board and community members, to honor the brothers for “their courageous actions to help a fellow student’s family during a catastrophe.”
“It is my honor and privilege to honor both of them, first time ever, with the Whitko Valor Award,” said Everett.
In related news, Everett announced in the weeks following the Dec. 31 fire, the Minix family received donations from the Whitko community in the form of “clothes, appliances and money,” he said among other things the family may need following the tragedy.
Other business included:
- The board approved an increase of $1 for hourly cafeteria staff as a means to recognize “the hardworking staff who bring many years of service with little pay increase during their time with the corporation,” said Whitko Superintendent Dr. Brandon Penrod. The increase also served as a measure to spend down the corporation’s cafeteria budget.
- Whitko Student Resource Officer Tim Clark presented the board a proposal for a K9 program exclusive to the school corporation. The program, according to Clark, would add the resource of K9 security and in some cases, therapy for students who require it. Pending board approval, Clark plans to present the proposal to the South Whitley Town Council.
- Transportation and Maintenance Director Jim Bumbaugh announced that stop-arm cameras will soon be installed on nine of the corporation’s full-size buses. Two will be installed on the minibusses in the corporation’s fleet.