“Do a good turn daily,” the Boy Scout slogan urges.
During the recent 40,000-person Jamboree in West Virginia, several Northeast Mississippi Scouts from Jamboree Troop C415 were helping improve a rural elementary school when routine tasks yielded to heroic measures.
“Troop C415 … went beyond their Messengers of Peace Day of Service project by helping to save from flood damage Cherry River Elementary School in Richwood, W.Va.,” wrote Gary Buscombe on scouting.org.
About 50 Scouts, leaders and Venturers made up the troop from the BSA’s Yocona Area Council, which covers 12 counties in Northeast Mississippi. They joined some 40,000 other participants in this year’s Jamboree to enjoy fellowship, workshops and a whole lot of fun, along with a day of service to local needs.
“We were helping them build an outdoor walking track and an area where they could hold outdoor classes overlooking the river,” said Assistant Scoutmaster John Mulkey of Oxford. They had cleared brush, hauled gravel and helped build a deck.
It was about 2 p.m. when the weather turned threatening.
“We decided we should come inside where we wouldn’t be hit by lightning,” said Eagle Scout and senior patrol leader William Rayburn of Oxford. After they took on indoor tasks, heavy rain began, and water came under the outside door of the cafeteria/ auditorium.
Rayburn and another Scout slowed the flow by blocking it with garbage bags, but as the rain increased, water began coming under several doors. Amazingly, information from a surprising source paid off.
“One Scout had attended a Coast Guard presentation earlier, and they showed how they stop flooding on a ship,” Rayburn said. “He used what he’d learned there to help stop the water.”
As the water got higher, several Scouts and leaders braved lightning and the ongoing downpour to remove debris from water-hidden culverts to increase the flow of water riverward.
Back inside, other Scouts continued damage control – some pulling up carpets and raising computers and books above floor level while others used brooms, mops and “whatever we had,” Rayburn said, to empty the school of as much as three inches of water that couldn’t be kept out.
Mulkey said he and other leaders were proud of the boys’ initiative and effort.
“The kids did all the work,” he said. “We were just there to make sure they stayed out of trouble doing it.”
Scoutmaster Pat Tucker of Corinth was quoted on scouting.org as saying, “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They did their duty as Scouts and did more than just one good turn that day.”