What did the troop affected by explosion in West, Texas, do with extra money?

The Scouts and Scouters in West, Texas, have taken “to help other people at all times” to a new level of awesome.

First, let me recap. On April 17, 2013, a deadly explosion at West Fertilizer Company left a tight-knit community in pain. Fifteen people died and more than 150 buildings were damaged.

A vital part of the West community is found in the families of Troop 494. Shortly after the explosion, the larger, national Scouting community came through with donations of money and essential survival items like water, toothpaste and baby formula. It was another fine example of the Scouting Spirit in action.

Though, thankfully, no Scouts lost their lives in the explosion, four troop families lost their homes. And so the money donated helped relieve a little of that pain by funding a trip to the National Scouting Museum in Irving, Texas, and paying for the balance of the troop’s summer camp fees at Worth Ranch in Palo Pinto, Texas.

Those of you who donated to Troop 494 played a big part in the community’s healing process, and you deserve infinite praise.

But last week I learned that not all the money the Longhorn Council received on behalf of Troop 494 was spent. Exactly $1,778.06 remained, Scout Executive John Coyle told me. What happened to that money is a story I had to share. 

Don Urbanovsky, Troop 494 committee chair, could’ve easily used that money to buy some fancy new camping gear for the troop. He could’ve upgraded the troop’s trailer. Or he could’ve paid for part of a trip to, say, California or Florida for next year’s summer camp. Few would have raised objections if he had done any of those.

But that’s not the Scouting way, is it? Instead, Urbanovsky and Troop 494 sent a check for $1,778.06 to Troop 17 in Moore, Okla.

If anyone can empathize with the loss of life and property felt after the devastating tornado on May 20, 2013, in Moore it’s the people of West.

“I contacted them via email and received a reply from Debbie Wedin, committee treasurer,” Urbanovsky wrote in an email to Coyle. “She said that their troop had two boys who are brothers who completely lost their house and several others who suffered damage. Our troop sent them the checked enclosed in a card signed by everyone who was at that night’s meeting.”

Now that’s selfless service, and it’s what Scouting’s all about.


Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by State Farm

About Bryan Wendell 2892 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.