In the darkest day for their family, Scouting stepped in

The instant you join Scouting, your family grows. Your circle of support widens.

When John Halterman died unexpectedly in October 2015, the Cub Scouts and parents of San Diego Pack 624 showed the truth of that statement.

It was March 2015 at the Halterman house when John brought a dusty old box to his 7-year-old son, Nathan.

The box contained Scouting treasures from John’s past: his 1977 Cub Scout uniform, some patches, and his Pinewood Derby car and trophies.

He and Nathan signed up for Cub Scouts that week.

“It was going to be a guy thing,” says Faith, John’s wife and Nathan’s mom.

On Oct. 28, 2015, “God had other plans for our family,” she says, “and my husband suddenly went home to heaven.”

John Halterman was just 46.

In the Haltermans’ darkest moments, the first horrible hours after John’s death, “something beautiful happened,” Faith says.

One by one, families from Pack 624 began showing up at the Haltermans’ door with meals. They showed up every night for a straight month — sometimes with meals, sometimes just to check in and say hello.

Members of Nathan’s Wolf den brought a Sunshine Box — toys for Nathan and his brother, flowers for Faith and food for everybody.

“It was amazing,” Faith says. “I had never felt such a feeling of support and family before.”

Faith knew, right then, that she would pay back Pack 624 some day. She didn’t know how, but she knew she wanted to give back. To repay the kindness they had shown in the days and weeks and months after her husband’s death.

“By February 2016, I took on the role of pack committee chair and started planning pack and den events like camping, field trips to area locations, etc.,” she says.

Cub Scouting is now a mother-son thing in the Halterman house. Nathan’s brother, Adam, is in the pack as well.

“I love watching both of my sons laugh and have pure fun on Scouting events,” Faith says. “We’re bonding as a family and creating new happy memories, and I have the opportunity to be a role model in a capacity for my sons that I never thought possible.”

Faith’s role in the pack began as a way to help repay a debt of gratitude. She sees now that she also benefits from her time involved in Scouting.

“When I started this Scouting journey, it was to support my sons and give back to the community,” she says. “It was not until recently that I realized how much I am actually gaining by all of this giving of my time to Scouting. I recently found a quote by Gandhi that perfectly sums it up for my experience: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.'”

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.