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Learning and Serving

Boy Scouts display picnic tables they painted for American Legion

LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Legion member David Grimm presents a check to Boy Scout Senior Patrol Leader Luke Barton, as other scouts and legion members look on.

BEECH CREEK — Sometimes, when two organizations get together, they form a wonderful, heartwarming relationship between youth and veterans.

And that’s what’s happened between Boy Scout Troop 54 and the Beech Creek/Blanchard Bitner Bechdel American Legion Post 623, the troop’s charter organization.

The legion members have become mentors for the scouts and provide support, both monetary and in helping the boys work toward merit badges that ultimately lead to many of them earning the highest honor in scouting — the Eagle Scout Award.

Last Saturday, the comraderie of the two groups was evident in colors of red, white and blue, as the scouts proudly showed off this year’s service project for the legion.

It was an amazing sight as the scouts posed with the picnic tables they had scraped, sanded, primed and painted for the legion. The tables are under one of the pavilions behind the legion and they certainly are attention getters.

LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS After presentation of a check to the troop, scouts line up and shake hands with legion members to individually thank them for their continued support.

The boys painted 30 tables… some red, some blue and some resembling the American Flag with red and white stripes and a blue field with white stars.

“They do service projects every year for the legion. This year we asked the legion what they would like us to do and they suggested painting the tables,” said Shirley Vilello, assistant scoutmaster.

And so it was that on two Saturdays, July 11 and July 18, the scouts arrived in old clothes to paint the tables. They left hours later with smiles on their faces and tell tale evidence that they are not the neatest painters in the world.

“It turned out really well and they had a good time,” scoutmaster Jerry Barton said of the project. “They worked hard and it was really hot, but they enjoyed it,” Barton said.

Barton said he’s proud to have 20 scouts in the troop.

“That’s a good number. These days society has changed and today’s youth have lost their interest in doing outdoors things, which is the basis of scouting. There’s so many other things that take their time. I hope to see the troop continue to grow,” Barton said.

Vilello explained that the scouts earn hours for service projects. “After they accumulate so many hours they are eligible for rank advancement and the hours go toward merit badges,” she said.

Many of the scouts have obviously been very busy, as their sashes are covered with dozens of merit badges.

There are 137 merit badges in all of which 13 are required for the Eagle Scout Award. Several scouts are working toward their Eagle Scout Award, Vilello said.

The scouts were happy to pose for a photograph with members of the American Legion, who lauded the boys for a job well done, and presented them with a donation to the troop.

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