Saturday, June 02, 2007

Ryan Baum honored by students

Several hundred Laredo Middle School students and faculty gathered Tuesday, May 29, after school for a charity basketball game to benefit the family of an Aurora soldier killed in Iraq.

Sgt. Ryan J. Baum, 27, died May 18 after being wounded by hostile fire in Karmah, Iraq, according to the Army.

Hoops for Heart has been an annual event at Laredo for several years now, but this year the fundraiser hits closer to home: Baum's mother, Dana Baum, is secretary to the dean at Laredo.

After Ryan Baum was killed the students saw an opportunity, and the event was dubbed Hoops for the Troops.

"We felt it was the right thing to do to help them out, because they are kind of our family here at Laredo," said Connor Bolazina, an eighth-grader who helped organize the event. "I think it went really well."

Dana Baum was on hand for the event with her son James, daughter Denise Horning and several grandchildren.

She thanked the students for their support of her and her son, as well as their support of all the troops, during halftime.

"Anything you do - any cards you send, any pieces of bubblegum you send - will be appreciated by them," she said to the students. "Because it's not the things you send, it's the message that you are sending: that there are people who care about them and are thinking about them."

Dana Baum has not been back to work since her son was killed, but she said seeing her students and getting hugs from them has lifted her spirits.

"It is awesome and it has really helped me to get through all of this, I'm telling you," she said. "I have been overwhelmed with friends and family."

School officials say more than $1,000 was raised at the event. Portions of the proceeds will benefit Baum's widow, Amber, who recently gave birth to the couple's first child. Other donations, including socks, sunscreen and shampoo, will be sent to troops stationed in Iraq.

Dana Baum said her son had asked for a simple funeral, and requested that his cremated ashes be scattered in Castlewood Canyon, a place he often went to rock climb. She said the private ceremony would likely held be at the end of June.

From the Aurora Sentinel

Related Link:
Ryan Baum remembered

Related Link:
Ryan J. Baum dies of 'of wounds suffered when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small arms fire'