By BARRY SCHRADER - email@example.com
Boy Scouts of America was founded 100 years ago, so the local Kishwaukee District of the Three Fires Council is celebrating all year. Their high-profile community event is honoring six outstanding achievers Oct. 7 at the annual Tribute to Heroes.
Interested in learning more about the local Scouts’ history, I contacted senior district executive director Mary Beth Wilfong. She referred me to a district volunteer, David Lindgren, who has a longtime Scouting background. I found out the oldest continuously local active troop is Troop 4, which was chartered in 1925 and meets at First United Methodist Church of DeKalb. Another local unit, Troop 33, predated them by a few months, but had a gap in its active status which puts them slightly behind Troop 4. Originally known as Troop 3, the second troop is sponsored by First Lutheran Church of DeKalb with Cliff Golden as scoutmaster.
Troop 4 Scoutmaster Jeff Norris is the perfect example of how Scouting pays off in training future leaders. He came up through the ranks in that same troop, all the way to the top rank of Eagle Scout, then later became its scoutmaster and is sharing all he learned with the next generation of boys. Golden is also a shining example of adult Scouting. He is being inducted into the National Hall of Leadership during a ceremony in November. He has the distinction of being the first inductee from Three Fires Council.
But for eight years now, the Scouts have held an awards program to honor local residents for a lifetime of community or professional service.
Looking over the impressive biographies of the winners, I found some tidbits that could spice up cocktail party conversation. Sandwich Mayor Tom Thomas began his political career as a write-in for mayor, and has kept the job for more than 20 years. He almost has Mayor Daley beat! Betty Koehling once played in the DeKalb Municipal Band under the baton of Dee Palmer.
Her husband Gordon served as an usher at the Methodist Church for 25 years.
Mike Larson wrote that he has had a few setbacks in his life, noting he chaired two unsuccessful school referendums to remodel the DeKalb High School. Robert Boey lived in Hoboken, N.J., while attending the Stevens Institute of Technology to become a mechanical engineer – I wonder if he ever met Tony Soprano. Boey’s wife Doris once belonged to the Genoa-Kingston Rotary Club, now defunct. She is also a Paul Harris Fellow.
Of course, if you want to find out why they really deserve the Heroes honors, you need to attend the Oct. 7 event at Kishwaukee College. I have been to three of them and appreciated the accomplishments of the several people each year who are being recognized.
But I wish they would call it a Lifetime Achievement Award as I think of a “hero” being someone who saves a life or commits some act of heroism.
However, after eight years of anointing them as heroes, why mess with success?
• Barry Schrader was editor of the Daily Chronicle from 1969-1972 and later worked at newspapers in San Francisco’s East Bay. He and his wife are retired and live in DeKalb. Visit his website, www.dekalbcountylife.com, for an archive of columns. Reach Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 851, DeKalb, IL 60115.