Honoring a fallen hero
Mexico-born Marine Pfc. Francisco Martinez Flores, 21, a former Star Scout from Troop 243 in Pico Rivera, Calif., was buried as a U.S. citizen after being posthumously granted citizenship. He died in Iraq March 25 when the tank he was in traveled over a collapsing bridge and tumbled into the Euphrates River.
More than 100 persons, including family and members of Troop 243 (led by Scoutmaster Freddie Moreno), attended the ceremony. "He was a hero," said Francisco's younger brother, Sammy.
A Marine color guard presented Francisco's parents with a framed copy of their son's naturalization certificate. His mother, Martha, said Francisco, who was assigned to the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division from the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., had always wanted to become a U.S. citizen. He was only two weeks away from being naturalized when he died.
The Martinez family moved to California from Guadalajara, Mexico, when Francisco was 3. At age 10 he joined Scouting as a Webelos Scout and later became a member of Troop 243, which is chartered to St. Francis Xavier Parish Catholic Church. "He was a proud Scout," remembered Scoutmaster Moreno.
We have lost a close member of our Scouting family, who personified the promise in the Scout Oath "to do my duty to God and my country."
Stephen E. Barnes
Flag project supports U.S. military
Last May, Troop 83, chartered to the Westside Church of the Nazarene, participated in a project designed to lift the spirits of America's soldiers who are deployed overseas.
Scouts created "pocket flags" by folding miniature U.S. flags in a triangular fold. Each flag was then placed in a bag with a card addressed to a specific soldier and signed by a Scout.
Below is a copy of a letter thanking the Scouts and the Heart of America Council for the support demonstrated by this project:
Dear Boy Scouts,
Begun as a Cub Scout pack's project in 2001, the Pocket Flag Project now has BSA troops and packs participating throughout the nation and in many other countries. Following project guidelines, participants purchase, fold, and package flags to send to U.S. troops. Each individual flag package includes a card with this message: "A flag for your pocket so you can always carry a little piece of home. We are praying for you and we are proud of you. Thank you for defending our country and our freedom." More information is available from Pocket Flag Project, P.O. Box 740847, Arvada, CO 80006, www.pocketflagproject.com, e-mail email@example.com.
The value of Venturing
I'd like to share several recent experiences from our crew because they demonstrate some of the tangible benefits of Venturing.
Three senior Girl Scouts recently joined Crew 244. All are in high school, and they continue to stay very active in Girl Scouts. They went on our winter camping and luge/cross-country skiing/skating trip to Muskegon State Park. They all expressed the opinion that Venturing was a great program not only because it gave them the opportunity to do more adventurous outdoor activities but also because they liked participating in a coed setting where they could interact with the guys as equals.
And I've observed that the guys in the crew will relate to the girls as people and not just as girls. I see them starting to develop a respect and kindness for their fellow crew members.
Many in the crew had no previous cold-weather camping experience, so two members, who are both Eagle Scouts and experienced campers, gave a presentation on how to avoid hypothermia and frostbite, and how to dress and stay warm and dry while winter camping. Consequently, everyone on the camp-out was well prepared, and nobody was cold overnight.
Crew president Stacy Smith, a 10th grader, is doing an excellent job of organizing and running the meetings and getting the other crew members to share the responsibilities for planning and carrying out the activities. Stacy also makes everyone feel welcome and valued. It is very gratifying to see her grow through the process of being a leader. (Things are going so smoothly under her leadership that the Advisors can sit back at the meetings and just advise.)
Experiences like these keep me convinced of the value of Venturing.
Same story, different skillet
A few years ago something similar to the cleaning-the-Teflon-skillet story (Worth Retelling, January-February 2003) happened to one of our Scout leaders. For cooking chores on a camp-out, he asked if I could bring my wife's large, decades-old, well-seasoned iron skillet.
But after using the skillet, he felt the need to clean it. He used a soap scrub pad and after much effort gave the skillet a bright shine.
I feared the incident was going to cause me to lose my happy home. Needless to say, my wife's cookware is no longer available for Scout outings.
Copyright © 2003 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Scouting magazine or on its Web site may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. Because of freedom given authors, opinions may not reflect official concurrence.