A very special evening that was 85 years in the making took place on Saturday,
August 24, 2002, at the Dils Banquet and Meeting Center in Parkersburg, West
Virginia, as over 250 members, parents, alumni, and guests of Boy Scout Troop 3
celebrated a milestone.
Former scouts came from 20 states, plus the District of Columbia to reminisce and
strengthen the bonds formed through various scouting activities, and weeks spent at
summer camp. These experiences had shaped their lives as adults and strengthened
their families. It was a chance to renew old friendships, reacquaint themselves with
their local scout brothers, and to remember the positive impact scouting had made
on their lives.
As background, Troop 3 is the oldest continually operating Boy Scout Troop in
Parkersburg, and the second oldest Boy Scout Troop in West Virginia. In its
85-year history, 114 young men have earned the Eagle Scout Award, Scouting’s
highest honor. In 1919, Stanley W. Rawson became Troop 3’s first Eagle Scout,
and was also the first Eagle Scout in the State of West Virginia.
It was a fast-paced evening filled with bugle calls, nostalgia, laughter, and singing.
Attendees started lining up a half hour before the function began, and many stayed
afterward, until almost midnight.
The program opened with an impressive flag ceremony by a "crack" honor guard
from American legion Post 15. Then, Mayor, Jimmy Colombo, stepped to the podium
and following a short speech extolling the values of scouting, read a Proclamation
declaring Saturday, August 24, 2002, as "Troop 3 Boy Scout Day" in Parkersburg, in
honor of the troop’s many contributions to the community over the years.
The mayor then concluded his portion of the program by wishing the troop all the
best, and presenting Scoutmaster Tom Dukas, the Key to the City.
Then it was time for the newest scout Aaron Ferguson to welcome the "old-timers"
to the reunion. This was followed by a well thought out reply by the oldest living
member, Gus Pahl, who is 94 years young.
Next, Dan Turner, of Staten Island, NY, son of former Troop 3 Assistant
Scoutmaster, Smith D. Turner, stepped to the podium and completely surprised
the entire audience, when he announced that he was donating to the troop, his
beautiful land in Wirt County, which is known as "Camp Smitty", the troop’s
summer camp for the past 37 years. This revelation quickly brought the crowd
to its feet with a roar of approval, and a loud standing ovation, that left many
people ‘teary-eyed" over such a generous gesture.
To witness the profound effect scouting has had on the 1075 young men of
Troop 3 since 1917 was really something to see. Member #516 Ron Taylor
said he learned the importance of good character and leadership. #691 Larry
"Mad Max" Maxwell mentioned "spirit and enthusiasm." #444 Tom Montoya
said the most important lessons he learned were the ideals of scouting, such as
helping others and always giving your best effort.
Next, Tina Dukas, wife of Scoutmaster Tom Dukas, was honored as "the First
Lady of Troop 3", with a silver bracelet as a token of appreciation for her
outstanding support, by the Alumni. Then it was Scoutmaster Tom Dukas’s turn
to be recognized for his 17 years of outstanding leadership of Troop 3.
Tom, was presented with an impressive plaque by the Alumni to thank him
for "his unselfish contributions that are truly making-a-difference!"
The highlight of the evening occurred when Mr. Dukas was presented with the
National Scoutmaster of Merit Award sponsored by the National Eagle Scout
Association. This special award is typically earned by less than 2% of the
43,523 Scoutmasters in the Untied States.
Troop 3 alumni enjoyed the displays of old photographs, and various scouting
memorabilia, including the Boy Scout uniform of the troop’s founder, Don B.
Lowe, who was scoutmaster for over 58 years. During his tenure as scoutmaster
it is estimated that Mr. Lowe had taken more than 10,000 pictures of scouting
activities. Jack "Spike" Parrish personally sorted through over 4,000 of Mr. Lowe’s
pictures, and had them categorized in photo albums, just in time for the reunion.
This effort alone took over 1,000 hours to complete. The remaining 5-6,000 pictures
Concurrent with the Troop’s 85th Anniversary Reunion effort, the Troop committee
completed a nine-year "labor of love" by opening the "Don B. Lowe" exhibits just in
time for the celebration of Troop 3 Boy Scout Day. This display was enjoyed by
hundreds of former members over the weekend of August 24. The exhibit is
devoted to Don B. Lowe, a man who dedicated his life to scouting. Located on the
and includes badges from various years, in addition to the scoutmaster’s old uniform.
On your next trip to Parkersburg, check out this exhibit, as it is already drawing
rave reviews, in addition to giving people a reason to donate their old scouting
memorabilia so it can be proudly displayed for all to enjoy.
Given the rousing success of this year’s reunion, planning has already begun for
our 90th, which will be held in 2007. Toward this end we are asking everyone
to help us find the remaining 35% of our former members that have yet to be
Anyone who knows the whereabouts of any former Troop 3 member should
largest Boy Scout Reunion ever to be held in the State of West Virginia, we
want our 90th to be extra special by being able to offer the opportunity to
attend, to those we could not locate in time for this year’s event.