The rebuilding of the Boy Scout Lodge for Troop 98 in North Carolina, one of the oldest Troops in the country, was recently completed by Scouts, their families, firefighters, local officials and an
unselfish outpouring of community member support.
In August of 2009, just as the Lodge was nearing its “first” completion, an arsonist deliberately set fire to the lodge and it quickly burned to the ground, along with the rest of the materials that would have been used to complete the structure. The only thing left standing when all was said and done was the fractured stone fireplace made from stones collected over the years by the Scouts. The fire burned so hot and for so long that stones in the fireplace and chimney had cracked. Hopes and dreams, along with years of planning and hard work were gone.
It was a total loss.
But this was a lodge for Scouts and, not surprising, the Scouts didn’t give up hope. Instead, they rallied together in the face of bad luck and difficulty. Dwayne Parsons, a Scout and Scoutmaster for the Troop for more than 10 years said that the fire was a bitter disappointment, but it was just an interruption, not an end. “We are going to carry on,” Parsons said. “We are going to build it back. No doubt about it, we are putting it back.”
And as we also see so many times, the community that the Scouts have been supporting for decades didn’t hesitate to give back. Donations came pouring in, as did the physical help of hundreds of community members.
Work began almost immediately on the rebuilding of the lodge. As mentioned above, the help came in the form of money and building material donations along with the hard work of hundreds of local adults and children. They even had food donated to feed the volunteers! What a great way for a community to pull together. According to Parsons, the speed at which the new lodge was rebuilt was astonishing as well.
Completion of the lodge rebuilding was marked by a formal ceremony last week. Cub Scouts raised the flag, Parsons gave a formal speech, and the lodge was officially named the West End Scout Lodge at Johnson Park.
Much to his surprise, Parsons was also presented with two awards for his participation in the rebuilding. He received the Award of Merit from the Occonneechee Council and the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. He quickly turned the attention to the communtiy and volunteers who made it all possible and thanked them for their hard work and dedication.
Around 700 attended the event and their attention was called to a single, special stone in the fireplace that had survived the fire and been recovered and placed there. It was a touching moment and one that brought a community and their Scouts even closer together in North Carolina.
Read about why that one fireplace stone was so special and discover more details about the lodge here – Community Celebrates Rebuilt Scout Lodge
. Congratulations and enjoy your new Scout Lodge!