Student’s courage honored at Vacation Bible School

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WARWICK—At St. Peter’s Vacation Bible School, volunteer crew leaders discuss ways they have seen God at work in their daily lives. They call this a “God Sighting,” a tool that helps the kids to be more aware of God’s presence and to share what they are thankful for.

With the ‘God Sightings,’ the children see God in their world. They see him in their family and friends. Specifically for this close-knit group of campers and their families, they see him in Ryan Agnew, an 11-year old St. Peters’ student, friend, and fellow camp counselor, who has been an inspiring example of faith and courage to his peers.

Margaret Andreozzi, who has been running the St. Peter camp for the past three years, shared Ryan’s story at the Vacation Bible School finale, an evening wrapping up the campers 10 days of fun and faith.

“Last year, Ryan Agnew, set sail for the 5th grade,” said Andreozzi. “In October of 2009, he hit some rough seas and needed a new liver. He was beyond critical. We prayed and prayed and we at St. Peter’s have been behind his family 100 percent.”

By the grace of God, Andreozzi said, doctors found a perfect match for Ryan’s liver. It was his new beginning. She added that because of their tremendous faith in God, the Agnew family had much to draw strength from.

“Ryan has been a patient and fun bible camp counselor,” Andreozzi shared. “Your heart was certainly left in tact.”

On behalf of the St. Peter’s community, Andreozzi offered a special surprise for Ryan and his family. She explained that the large sailboat that has served as the backdrop for the bible camp, will be seen in the Gaspee Days Parade, next June. They will name the boat, “Ryan’s Challenge.”

Ryan’s mother, Connie Agnew expressed how overwhelmed she was with how perfectly Margaret Andreozzi shared the story about Ryan.

“It was very hard to relive it, but she absolutely said it perfectly,” said Agnew.

The support that their family received from the community, school, and the children at St. Peters was endless, said Agnew, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Everywhere that Ryan was connected, the support absolutely carried us through this whole experience,” she said. “He will be blown away when he sees the ship in the Gaspee Parade with his name on it.”

Agnew also expressed her gratitude to Father Gagne, pastor of St. Peter Church.

“He has reached out to us in so many incredible ways,” she said. “We are so thankful.”

During the finale, Father Gagne presented a small version of the sailboat to Ryan, thanking him for his courage and faith.

“He’s the best. He’ll be back to altar serve soon,” said Father Gagne smiling.

To be happy and healthy one day and in 14 days have a doctor tell you that your child needs a new organ is shocking, Ryan’s mother explained. But, Ryan is doing great and their family is concentrating on that.

“We have really good days that we just stay focused and how incredibly grateful we are to God and grateful to the family that was experiencing tragedy that they saved a life,” she said. “They saved our son.”

Inspired by Ryan each day, Agnew said that their faith in God and her son’s positive attitude will continue to carry them through any new challenges they may face.

“We never gave up on hope and prayer,” she said. “In September he will be even stronger and better. We do celebrate October 26 as his second birthday. It will always be a very significant day in our lives.”