Troop 47 welcomes former members back to ‘Eagle nest’
Boy Scout Troop 47 celebrated its 50th anniversary at The Lighthouse United Methodist Church in Elizabeth Saturday night. The troop welcomed more than 100 past Scouts, Scoutmasters, Eagle Scouts, and family and friends for a dinner and gathering.
‘In the little town of Elizabeth, 50 years is pretty extraordinary in itself,’ said Doug Sellers, current Scoutmaster.
Bruce Cunningham, who has been involved with the Troop for 10 years, gave a presentation to show and tell the history of the Troop.
‘Fifty years ‘ that’s good stuff,’ said Cunningham.
The Troop began in 1957 at the United Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth. The Scouts met in the church’s basement with the first official Scoutmaster, Latham Wright. Cunningham’s favorite story was from Jim Barnes, the first Eagle Scout of the Troop. He said Corydon Troop 22 wanted to host a swim meet in 1962, but they did not count on Troop 47 beating them, said Cunningham.
‘Corydon didn’t want to have the meet the next year,’ said Cunningham. ‘The Corydon-South Central rivalry has been around a long time. It’s a good-natured rivalry most of the time ‘ except for basketball season.’
Cunningham reminisced about different camping trips the Troop has taken, saying, ‘When Troop 47 camps, it rains.’
In 2004, the Troop took a canoe trip on Blue River as tornado watches loomed throughout the area. The boys had to get on the shore and huddle under their canoes, said Cunningham.
‘Just another day for Troop 47.’
Cunningham said he will never forget taking a young Scout snipe hunting on a camping trip one night.
‘He said he had so much fun, he wanted to go do it again tomorrow night, (and that) he might find one,’ Cunningham said.
Cunningham has four sons in the Troop, including 2004 Eagle Scout Jacob, who serves overseas in the military.
‘While Jacob is serving the country, I know he has all the tools to not only serve, but to excel.’
Gary Gilley, a former Troop 47 Scout, also spoke Saturday night.
‘To me, this man represents what Scouting is made for,’ Cunningham said of Gilley, chief of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. and a veteran of the Vietnam War.
Gilley said, ‘It was like I was born to wear a uniform.’
‘It was the most enjoyable thing in my life,’ Gilley said, speaking of a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in Arizona, with Troop 47 in 1962. ‘It’s hard to put into words the pride I had being a Boy Scout.’
The other special guest for the evening was WAVE 3’s David McArthur from the ‘Sunrise Show.’ McArthur was an Eagle Scout from the Chicago area.
‘You have an incredible troop here,’ said McArthur, ‘You get to do things I never got to do.’
McArthur said it takes a real community effort to have a troop as successful as Troop 47.
In its 50-year history, the Troop has had 33 boys earn the rank of Eagle, including many in the past seven years under the guidance of Scoutmaster Sellers.
‘That man sitting right there deserves a lot of praise for where we’ve gotten the past seven years,’ said Cunningham.
Sellers was the Scoutmaster from 2000 to 2005. He was succeeded by Earl Kelly for 2005, then Sellers took over again in last year.