OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — An Oregon City woman is honoring her son, who died in 2012, by giving back to the sport he loved.
Cheryl Croft Bennett misses her son, but is committed to honoring his memory with a charitable foundation in his name that benefits athletes at in Oregon.
Tyrone Woods was won of the 4 people killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi 5 years ago. He retired as a senior chief petty officer in the Navy in 2008 and was working as a CIA contractor providing security for American diplomats at the time of the attack.
“He’s an American hero,” Croft Bennett said. “He gave his life so that 30 other people could live.”
She said Woods was passionate about wrestling and the sport played a huge role in shaping who he was as a Navy SEAL.
“It was an outlet for his energy and his grit,” Croft Bennett.
Now that she’s had time to cope with his death, Croft Bennett is moving forward. She started the Tyrone S. Woods Wrestling Foundation in 2015 after she talked to his former wrestling coach.
Roger Rolen coached Woods when he was on the wrestling team. Woods attended Oregon City HS from 1986-1989. Rolen told Croft Bennett that in 2009, Woods spoke to students about the influence being on the wrestling team had on him.
“You just knew that he was going to go that next level,” Rolen said about Woods. “I know with this connection we had, we would have been friends.”
The foundation provides funding for the wrestling program and recognizes outstanding members of the team that was so important to Woods. They handed out their first trophy and scholarship last year and will present this year’s award at the state wrestling championships on February 25.
“I choose to emphasize his courage and his willingness to sacrifice,” Croft Bennett said.