By John Burton
LITTLE SILVER – The Boy Scout motto is to “Do a good turn daily” and scouts in the borough’s Troop 126 recently were on the receiving end of that maxim – much to their surprise and thanks.
The good turn was courtesy of a scout troop in New Albany, Ind., and involved roasted corn and a welcomed gift.
Troop 126, which has about 35 members, had been meeting and storing most of its equipment at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 325 Little Silver Point Road. That was until Super Storm Sandy caused considerable flooding in the area, damaging the church and wrecking some of the troop’s belongings.
The troop lost a couple of its larger tents and all of its merit-badge manuals, about 200 volumes.
The cost of what was lost amounted to about a couple of thousand dollars, Troop 126 Scoutmaster Rick Hough estimated, more than the small troop’s overall annual budget.
Unbeknownst to Hough, Boy Scout Troop 36 in Indiana had heard about the loss and wanted to help, said Sam Marking, a member of the troop’s adult committee.
During a telephone interview from his Indiana home, Marking said another adult committee member, Norma Condra, is originally from the Two River area and knew about Troop 126’s situation. The New Albany troop was only too willing help.
The New Jersey scouts recently received boxes with a large tent and books to replace those that were lost.
The Indiana scouts have raised money by selling ears of roasted corn and soft drinks at the Harvest Homecoming Festival, one of Indiana’s largest annual events of its type.
The troop, Marking said, “had the money sitting around for a while.” Initially, the scouts wanted their fundraising efforts to be used by a needy troop impacted by Hurricane Katrina a few years ago but that never came to fruition. Eventually they decided to help a Henryville, Ind., high school damaged by a tornado last year and the troop in Little Silver.
“They really liked the idea of being able to help out another troop that is in need,” Marking said.
Troop 126’s scoutmaster called the gift “manna from Heaven.”
“We’re just incredibly grateful,” said Hough who believes the heartfelt gift is one that will keep on giving in a number of ways.
He believes the replaced books will benefit his troop members and future scouts for years to come as they look to earn the merit badges and progress through the scouting ranks. The books, mostly 100-page or less paperback manuals, provide some history and background on a wide array of topics, including outdoor activities, first aid, civics and architecture.
“It’s really about creating a well-rounded individual who has been exposed to a variety of different topics,” Hough said. “It goes right to the heart,” of what scouting hopes to teach.
“We put a big emphasis on doing a good turn,” Hough said, “whether they be small thoughtful acts or larger acts of charity. It’s simply good manners.”
The upside for his troop members, Marking said, was “helping people a little bit who are in need, lifting their spirits a little bit and getting them back on their feet.”
The Troop 126 members were “just blown away by the generosity of somebody they don’t know,” Hough said.
In return, Troop 126 now is looking at ways to “pay it forward” and offer some help to other scouts. They are looking into how they can create a database of scout troops around the country that may have been hit by some disaster, so they – and others – can offer a helping hand, Hough said.
It appears Troop 126 and Troop 36 are on the same page. “We still have money available,” Marking said, and his scouts are looking for other troops that would benefit from it.