Many Scouting units have leaders who have volunteered for decades. Few though have erected a monument in honor of their leaders’ years of service.
Last month, past members of Troop 584 of Olney, Texas, met at a new park and monument in town. Olney is a town of about 3,000 residents, about 100 miles northwest of Fort Worth. The town’s first Eagle Scout, Neel Wright, had his board of review in December 1939. Since then, 76 more Scouts have achieved the top honor.
“The monument and commemorative park is to honor the leaders who spent countless hours, vacation weeks and personal energy to carve youth into adults,” says Dale Lovett (Eagle Class of 1970). “We could not have made this without them and hundreds of merit badge counselors and family members who lifted us on our way.”
Two such leaders, Scoutmaster Freddie Joe Dunagan and Assistant Scoutmaster E.C. Red Wainscott, were especially highlighted during the dedication ceremony. From 1955 to 1985, Dunagan helped 67 Scouts reach Eagle — 24 of whom earned the award in June 1970. The names of those 24 Scouts are emblazoned on the monument, along with these words:
The Eagle is the highest rank but no Eagle flies alone.Under our wings are countless Scoutmasters,advisors, counselors, community membersand families lifting the Eagle to soar.This is a salute to all who made our flight possible.
Making a difference
Dunagan passed away in 1993; Wainscott died in 1988. Their service left a lasting impact on the Scouts, many of whom attended the ceremony and shared their memories or sent tributes to be read. They reminisced about Scouting skills they learned and campouts, including a two-week, cross-country trip to Winnipeg, Canada. However, their most cherished memories were the friendships made and the time volunteers invested. Their efforts did not go unnoticed.
“It was certainly led by Freddie Joe and Daddy, but it was a community effort,” says David Wainscott (Eagle Class of 1970). “We had a lot of people in the community help us with those merit badges. There were just examples all over that people in the community didn’t spend full-time working with Scouts, but they helped with the things that they knew and understood. We’re a product of that community. Some of us don’t live here anymore, but we took Scouting and part of the Olney commitment to community and to youth with us.”