Central High School’s Bill East, Class of 1966, died May 24, 2012, and was the subject of a moving obituary mostly written by his buddy, Terry Hopkins. It was fate that caused me to run across a 4×5 negative of Bill almost on the anniversary of his passing.
I got to looking closer at Bill’s uniform, and some things popped out. First, I think this must of been a recycled shirt, because there’s a dark circle on the pocket on the left. We’ll talk about what that might have been later.
Badge of rank
He sports a Star badge, which was the rank above Second and First Classes, and below Life and Eagle. He has two service stars above his pocket, but I couldn’t see whether he had been in for two years, or if the stars had numbers in them.
His handmade neckerchief slide says, “Preparing to Aid Camporee 1963. It was just big enough to hold a dime for a phone call and, maybe, a bandage. His neckerchief is tightly rolled; I usually wore mine bloused out and tied in a knot at the bottom like his is.
I’m not sure what the boot patch with “59” on it signified.
I have a large box of Scout uniforms, including Mother’s den mother uniform. These two were still hanging in a closet, so they were fairly presentable.
This one belonged to one of my brothers. It sports a round Camp Lewellen patch which is probably what was missing from Bill’s shirt. The wearer had been to the camp at least three years.
J.L.T. stands for Junior Leader Training, which is interesting. When Bill Hardwick, Martin Dubs and I went to Philmont Scout Ranch in 1962, we were there for J.L.I.T. (Junior Leader Instructor Training). It was explained that we were junior leaders already, but our reason for being at the ranch was to learn how to teach OTHER Scouts how to be leaders.
The colorful patch on the pocket flap indicated that the wearer was a member of Order of the Arrow Anpetu-We Lodge 100. The senior patch indicated that one of my brothers was approaching Boy Scout old fartdom.
Mark and David were members of Trinity Lutheran School’s Troop 8 in Cape Girardeau. Older boys could become instructors and Junior Assistant Scoutmasters.
Both brothers earned the Eagle rank. I only made it to Life. To become an Eagle in those days, you had to earn 21 merit badges, including some in specific categories.
I had more than enough badges, but I tended to go after ones that interested me instead of required ones. My path to Eagle status was sidetracked when I got involved with photography and girls.
Dad was an active Scouter
By the time I left Cape for Ohio, Dad was winding up his business, which gave him more time to get involved in Scouting with my brothers.
His uniform showed he was a member of the troop committee, and a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society. He, David and Mark were Vigils, “the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting. Membership cannot be won by a person’s conscious endeavors. ”
Dad was awarded the Silver Beaver
Dad was awarded the Silver Beaver, which is described as “the council-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. Upon nomination by their local Scout council and with the approval of the National Court of Honor, recipients of this award are registered adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council. The Silver Beaver is an award given to those who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, self-sacrifice, dedication, and many years of service. It is given to those who do not seek it.”
He was so proud of his Vigil honor and Silver Beaver that we had it carved on his tombstone.
It was the custom to collect patches from hikes, camporees and activities that weren’t worn on the uniform. Again, I’m not sure which brother these belong to.