A local report on one of 350+ community service projects being done by scouts and local volunteers during the 2013 National Scout Jamboree:
Despite the heat, bugs and a brief appearance from a garter snake, a group of Texas-based Boy Scouts and McDowell County volunteers worked together Wednesday to restore a bit of the area’s coal and music heritage.
Local organizer Gary Dove met with Scouts for the John Ellison project in Landgraff which will restore the former coal miner’s lamp house as well as clear land to build a replica of the coal camp house the musician grew up in. The project was one of many across the region Wednesday as part of the 2013 Boys Scouts of America National Jamboree Day of Service Initiative.
“The Scouts are cutting grass, clearing brush and are removing debris from inside the building,” Dove said. “We are going to build a replica of the house Ellison grew up in along with the restoration of the lamphouse, which will be filled with local coal camp memorabilia.
Joe Stallard, Scoutmaster for the troop, said Scouts ranged from 13 to nearly 18 and were excited to get to work in West Virginia. Of the 36 Scouts working at the site, Stallard said seven have attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
“We flew from Texas to New York City on a plane, went to Baltimore and caught an Orioles-Rangers game, and then visited the Smithsonian in D.C. before coming here Monday,” Stallard said. “A few of our Scouts had been to jamborees before, but they were really impressed with the Summit. It’s like the World’s Fair for Scouting.”
Stallard said his troop had been looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and getting to work in McDowell County.
“This is what Scouts do,” he said. “Part of our oath is to help others at all times. Having fun is good, but the boys learn so much more by helping out. Scouting is also a great equalizer in that anyone from any background can become a Scout. It brings kids from all over together for a common goal. We do service projects in our community back home, so this is just like helping out in our community.”