Boy Scouts help W.V. church during jamboree

Aug. 08, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

A Boy Scout Troop composed of youth from Lee and surrounding counties have made a difference in multiple ways for a West Virginia community. 

Occoneechee Council Boy Scout Troop C442, made up of scouts from Chatham, Cumberland, Lee, Harnett, and Wake counties, spent two weeks in July at the BSA National Jamboree near Beckley, W.V. Besides devoting time to activities such as white water rafting, rock climbing, shooting, mountain boarding and other adventure sports, they spent a day working on service projects for the surrounding communities. This troop, along with a troop from Pennsylvania, was asked to help complete the Layland Miners’ Memorial located near the Layland Baptist Church.

On March 2, 1915, Layland Mine #3 exploded, killing 112 men.  This year, Pastor Ray Cook put a committee together and started a fundraiser to erect a monument to the fallen 112 miners. The goal is to to raise $14,000 to ensure that each miner has a marker at the site.

Once at Pastor Crook’s church, the scouts began to move rock and cut back brush for the memorial. After about two hours, a thunderstorm moved in with heavy rain and lightning.

“The scouts moved into the church until a member of a Pennsylvania troop noticed that the basement of the church was flooding,” according to a news release about the trip. “Several of the scouts went out into the rain and started trenching the water away from the church. Other scouts went to the basement to rescue food the church houses for the local food bank. The food bank services hundreds of families in the area, and the community was very grateful the food and refrigeration units were saved.”

Over the course of the work day, the scouts found out that the church had been trying to sell bricks for $50 to support the memorial, so they each donated a $1 to purchase a brick with the adult troop leaders — Timothy Hill, Battle Whitley and Mary Elliot — making up the difference, according to the release.

Despite the scouts’ efforts to save the food bank, the shelves were still essentially bare, and the supply was not adequate to meet the demand in the Layland community. Recognizing this need, the scouts had been setting aside all unopened food items after each meal at the jamboree with the intent of donating it to the needy.

“The boys donated so much nonperishable food and fresh fruit to the food bank that the shelves were filled,” according to the release. “This selfless act not only provided the needy in Layland with one of the most basic essentials of life — food — but the generosity of the boys also allowed this population the special treat of being able to add fresh fruits and vegetables to their meals. By living the Scout Law, the boys helped Pastor Crook to provide to those who need it the most for a longer period of time than he would have otherwise been able to provide.”