Kids earn the right to ride Montgomery’s train | Rudi and Connor Alcott

Eugene Montgomery helps Olympic View Elementary students board an Amtrak train to Portland on May 19.

If there is a better non-profit for kids in the Federal Way area, I am not sure what it is.

Five times a school year, Eugene Montgomery, his wife, Myla, and a number of volunteer teachers take 28 kids on a train ride.

Make no mistake. The kids earned the right to be on this train. They are required to read a book a month, stay out of trouble in school, make good grades and prove this to the teachers and administrators of their individual schools that they earned it. This is a tough ticket to earn. I could tell you all about this, but I thought it would be more important to hear from one of the riders.

I used this opportunity to take along my oldest son, Connor. Middle school can be tough at times. Teenagers think that the world stops at their doorstep. He quite possibly went on that train ready to teach those kids a lesson — and he is the one that learned a lesson.

We could all learn from kids. To see the world through their eyes, to hear the world through their ears and to experience the innocence of a one-day train ride that turns into a life experience. These are his words:

We just left the Tacoma train station heading to Portland, Oregon. I am seeing all kind of things like beautiful trees, the sweet smell of food, and laughing and joy of all of my new friends that I just met from Olympic View Elementary. I am sitting here with 28. Here I am on my first train ride ever! New kids and I can’t remember one of their names! Now I am watching my dad on the computer. Then I look back through the aisle and see feet hanging off the seats. All of the sudden the train comes to a grinding halt because the track is broken. I am talking to my friend Eugene Montgomery. He was the one that put the whole thing together. He is the leader of KOSS (Keeping Our Schools Safe).

As I said, this is my first time on a train and I get to eat on it. Yes! Did you know that trains have half dollars that they give as change in the dining car? Well I did not, and I took one from my dad.

In Portland, there was going to be a picnic in the park, but the rain ruined it. All 28 kids just ate in Union Station, and that was fun. We are on the way back to Tacoma and everyone wanted to play with my PSP. There is just one problem. There are 28 of them and one PSP. Instead, we played 5 card poker, UNO, and war with cards. When I got bored on the train with my new friend Axar, we were playing war and he bet three pieces of candy and I won. Then around 3 p.m. we had to pack up as we arrived in Tacoma. All 28 kids said ‘bye’ at once.

In the end, the whole KOSS foundation put the train ride together and this has really changed me as a person. I should not take things for granted in life and be thankful for what I have. And that sometimes you have to stop and think the whole world does not revolve around you.

This was by Connor, Cedar River Middle School, Maple Valley, WA

Save the program

Parents, encourage your kids to be a part of this. This program is open to all elementary school students in public, private or home-schooling. It requires funding of $4,000 per year, and as community members of the Federal Way area we should help Eugene and Myla Montgomery raise this capital. Contact: The Montgomery KOSS Award, Eugene Montgomery, (253) 815-8633 for additional details.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@federalwaymirror.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.federalwaymirror.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Well-fed at the Federal Way Farmers Market: Cran-Apple Butter

Join in on an apple-theme scavenger hunt this weekend at the market (ages 12 and under)

Well-fed at the Federal Way Farmers Market: Cauliflower curry soup and naan bread

Recipe of the Week includes ingredients found at the Federal Way Farmers Market.

Courtesy photo
Centerstage Theatre tickets now on sale for 2020-2021 season

Options for live streaming and virtual performances.

Federal Way PAEC offers livestream comedy special Aug. 29

Tickets now available for Yakov Smirnoff’s “United We Laugh” virtual comedy special.

SKFR firefighter lives at station for six weeks during pandemic to protect family

Setting up his trailer in the parking lot of Station 66, Chris and Justine Mathis knew it was the right decision in order to protect their son.

Well-fed from the Federal Way Farmers Market: Summer Medley Salsa

Recipe includes fresh corn, tomatoes, cilantro, and more from the Federal Way Farmers Market.

Siblings 9-year-old Ava Guerrier, left, and 8-year-old August Guerrier show off their blueberry findings on Aug. 13, 2019. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
There’s still time to visit u-pick blueberry farms in Federal Way

So many berries in just one city. While in Federal Way, visit… Continue reading

Well-fed from the Federal Way Farmers Market: Berry Delicious French Toast

Recipe of the Week includes fresh berries from the Federal Way Farmers Market.

Most Read