Local Boy Scouts pay respects to veterans

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Boy Scouts with Troop No. 366 in Bullard recently took time to honor the sacrifices of American military members during the country’s most recent holiday, Memorial Day.

Both Scouts and adults were on hand at Bullard Cemetery, located at Farm-To-Market Rd. 344 across from Bullard Middle School, as well as Bullard Memorial Cemetery, located between F.M.. 2493 and Hwy. 69, next to Boren-Conner Funeral Home, to pay their respects to veterans by placing American flags near their military markers.

According to Scoutmaster Chester Baird, the annual event for Troop No. 366, the event serves as a reminder for young scout members to the cost of their freedom paid for by those who have gone on before them.

“This is a great annual event, and I think it’s one of the greatest things we do as a Boy Scout troop,” said Baird. “The whole mission of an event like this is to stop and take the time to honor the men and women who have fought for our freedoms in America, no matter what war or conflict they fought in. We, as a Boy Scout troop, are very thankful for their courage and willingness to serve their country and to insure that America is still a free country and guarantee our freedoms.”

In total, the Bullard scouts placed nearly 200 American flags near the military service markers on the graves of veterans that served in the American Armed Forces.

Members of Boy Scout Troop No. 366 taking the time to pay honor to veterans with the American flags included Cole Adair, Brayden Baird, Will Kuczkowski, Niko Naumann, Lane Proctor, Nathaniel Rhyne, and Dominick Ward, as well as Scout Master Baird and Assistant Scout Master Peter Kuczkowski.

The flags are donated locally to the troop by Chris Green with Woodmen Life, the second-largest purchaser of American flags in the country, second only to the United States Federal Government.

According to Assistant Scout Master Mark Maple, the number of flags being placed in memory of veterans is seemingly increasing every year due to veterans passing away in between each event.

“It definitely seems like we are putting probably 20 more flags out each year due to veterans dying,” said Maple. “Every veteran is worth honoring because they chose to fight for our liberties. It’s a great opportunity to also explain to the boys the significance of what we’re doing, as well as remaining solemn as we do it. When we put the flags out, if a marker is a little dirty, has grass growing too high near it, or if there’s an ant pile, our scouts will work to clean the area and make it more presentable in honor of that veteran.”

With annual events centered on honoring America’s bravest heroes, Maple said the scouts involved with Troop No. 366 are constantly learning lessons in patriotism.

“In Boy Scouts, we always try to instill love of country and patriotism in the minds and hearts of our scouts,” said Maple. “We encourage the boys to always show veterans the respect they deserve for the service they’ve provided the entire country. We want them to grow up and become great citizens and leaders in our nation. It gives us the opportunity to reinforce what their parents have taught them and what they’ve learned in school.”

In addition to the annual Memorial Day event, Boy Scout Troop No. 366 also partakes in an event honoring veterans, through serving breakfast at the annual Bullard Area Chamber of Commerce’s Red, White, and Blue Veterans Breakfast event each November.

Scouts arrive early to the event site, cooking a breakfast buffet from scratch, usually consisting of eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and gravy, and coffee and juice. As veterans arrive to the event, they are greeted by the scouts, who also spend time talking and listening to, as well as learning from, the veterans assembled.

“The Veterans Breakfast at the Red, White, and Blue Festival is always really well attended,” said Maple. “I would rank it up as one of the top two things we do as a Boy Scout troop, along with the Memorial Day event, because it gives the veterans a chance to enjoy a meal together, as well as talk with the boys about their time in the service and their part in the conflicts. There’s a great camaraderie at events like this, with a lot of good-natured ribbing amongst the branches. I really believe they enjoy the boys wanting to learn more about their service.”

During the summer months, scouts and adults affiliated with Boy Scout Troop. No. 366 will stay busy. A convoy of 24 attendees will head towards the Great White North for a Canadian expedition Wednesday, June 13 through Sunday, June 24.

Additionally, a total of 13 scouts and adults will head out for the troop’s annual summer camp, to be held at Camp Pirtle, near Carthage, later this month.

Boy Scout Troop No. 366 will begin meeting weekly on Monday nights starting Monday, Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m., inside Bullard Southern Baptist Church, located at 716 N. Houston St.

For more information about Boy Scout Troop No. 366, contact Maple at (903) 570-4740.

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