Oregon City’s Tyrone Woods to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Oregon City High School graduate and state wrestling
champion Tyrone Woods is receiving Congress’ highest honor for his actions to
defend the U.S. consulate from a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept.
12, 2012.

With a successful Dec. 12 vote of Senate that followed a
U.S. House vote in July, a Congressional Gold Medal will recognize how Woods, a
U.S. Navy veteran and a retired SEAL team member, was working as a civilian
contractor for the CIA when he was killed during the attack. The bill
posthumously awards the Congressional Gold Medal to the four Americans who died
in the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate.

Woods’ mother Cheryl Croft Bennett, who is still an OC
resident, said she will be “forever appreciative” for the support of
congressional co-sponsors. The sacrifice of the four Americans in the defense
of their fellow citizens, Bennett said, will stand in history as a compelling
testimonial to the true meaning of courage and loyalty.

“Tyrone would never have asked for this recognition,
but it is important to the families, as well as for many thousands of
Americans, that these men finally receive the tribute they so genuinely deserve,”
Bennett said.

Woods’ honor took eight years and four attempts through
Congress before finally passing legislation through the Senate. Oregon City
residents, with support from Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, lobbied
other states’ representatives in the Senate to honor Woods with the most
prestigious award that Congress can bestow, given so far to only 179 times in
U.S. history.

Woods’ honor now heads to the president’s desk for his
signature, and likely sometime in 2024, a ceremony will be held at the Capitol
to present the medals, which still have to be designed and cast.

“These brave patriots laid down their lives in an act
of heroism that should be recognized and honored for years to come,”
Merkley said. “I am proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle
to properly honor these heroes, their service and their sacrifice.” Woods’
bravery has also been honored with the renaming of a park and a highway in
Oregon City.

In May 2021, a new 9.2-acre Oregon City park, the Tyrone S.
Woods Memorial Park, was officially dedicated with a program that honored Woods
for his 20 years of service as a U.S. Navy SEAL and a CIA protective officer.

With a unanimous vote of the Oregon Legislature in 2013,
ODOT was directed to erect and maintain a “Fallen Hero Memorial
Highway” sign for Woods on Highway 213. The sign was installed soon after
a September 2014 ceremony.

Nonprofit organization Tyrone Snowden Woods Wrestling
Foundation was created to honor Woods’ achievement as a champion wrestler. The
foundation has donated almost $80,000 to youth wrestlers and programs since