Saluting a true American hero: Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Award - KPTV - FOX 12

Saluting a true American hero: Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Award

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In 1989, Oregon City High School's Ty Woods placed fifth in his weight class. In 1989, Oregon City High School's Ty Woods placed fifth in his weight class.
Woods' mother Cheryl Croft Bennett congratulates Culver High School's MacKyle Little, who is this year's recipient of the Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Trophy. Woods' mother Cheryl Croft Bennett congratulates Culver High School's MacKyle Little, who is this year's recipient of the Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Trophy.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The wrestling community is a tight-knit group, and the passion for the sport for those friends and families involved is off the charts. 

It's where true champions are made, not born – and true heroes are always saluted. 

When it comes to wrestling in the state of Oregon, the Parade of Champions is a tradition like none other, celebrating the kings and queens of the wrestling mat inside the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. 

Back in 1989, Oregon City High School's Ty Woods placed fifth in his weight class.

"This is overwhelming. This is overwhelming. I never would have envisioned this," said Woods' mother, Cheryl Croft Bennett. 

She had the vision to honor her son, a fallen U.S. Navy SEAL who made the ultimate sacrifice, perishing in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 12, 2012.

"Nothing I did or said was going to bring my brave boy back," said Bennett. "Then it became, I need to honor him and I need to do something for the greater good."

The second annual Tyrone S. Woods Memorial Trophy and $1,000 scholarship was awarded to Culver High School's MacKyle Little.

"I think it's such an honor to have this trophy to represent what he did for our country and what he did to keep us all free and I just am speechless," said Little. 

Bennett said, "Sure, there are some awful things going on out there in the world. People dying needlessly for no reason at all. But on the other end of the spectrum, we have young people like these kids."

The senior from Culver is not only a state champ, but occupies a high GPA and high involvement in his community. 

"I may not be representing my country the same way that Tyrone Woods did but I think I have many of his great qualities and I try to show them to the best of my abilities," said Little. "Just doing whatever I can to help our community and our, potentially, world."

Little will play football at Western Oregon and wants to be a firefighter. His winning essay displayed the virtues of Woods, a true American hero. 

You can help the nonprofit organization that has assisted wrestling programs around the state by visiting TyroneWoodsWrestlingFoundation.org

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