“IT IS MY FAULT”
With the passing of my father, Jack Troxell, it has been my responsibility to clear out and sort through the personal possessions of his estate. It has been a labor of sorrow and joy. How do we measure a person after they have passed? We remember actions, and deeds, good times and bad, but they are always clouded over with fog of living our daily lives.
In his house is one special room, “HIS Scout Office”. And here is where I find the yardstick to measure a man’s life. How did it come to be that a person would not only give a room of their house, but some thirty-eight years of their life for a few plaques on the wall and enough cups to fill two cupboards?
My first memories of “Mr. Troxell”, a title all the boys called him, even my three brothers and I, when we were “Scouting”, and he was Cubmaster for Pack 3025. I was a Wolf Cub, and my mom, Pat Troxell, was my den mother. It is only now, as I pen this that I realize that his was not the norm. It seems to me that everyone has the same opportunity. Most of my “friends” and the people we did these activities with were Scouters as well. It was the early seventies and the Pack had about 150 boys. It seemed as if the whole neighborhood was involved. It was during this time that I had the honor of experiencing the effort and love of the late, great, Sally Rainwater. She and her energies will be truly missed.
I finished my Cub Scouting and went to Troop 25. “Mr. Troxell” had gone there the year before and taken over as Scoutmaster for Warren Marquart. Mike and Mark were Patrol leaders. Jackie was now a Cub Scout and mom stayed with the Pack as den leader coach, Committee Member, and later as Charter Partner Representative. During this time, she received the Good Shepherd’s Award and District Award of Merit. Dad was always the outdoorsman type, as a boy during the depression. He had joined the Boy Scouts as an excuse to go camping. With four boys of Scouing age, and limited time and energy, Scouting became our excuse to do things together, and if the rest of the neighborhood followed, then that was even better. This is when we became a “Scouting Family.”
Here again, to remember someone special, Denny Gurlock, whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Brownsea 22. I wish I had realized what an opportunity it was to be under his tutelage, I was just in awe. Denny was not tall in stature, but bigger than life to me. He was the incarnation of Jeremiah Johnson and Lord Baden-Powel, himself. He, I credit with the spark that started my outdoorsman and Scouting fire. The things we did together, our life changing experiences, with the values of Scouting as a guide, we grew into men. Most moved on, some stayed for a time to help, and even though his sons were no longer of Scouting Age, “Mr. Troxell” continued to take care of “HIS” boys until it was no longer physically possible. He still helped when and where he could. One of his last positions was of Pack 3025 where his grandson, my son, is now a Cub.
Do you measure a person’s life by the awards and plaques on a wall? His Silver Beaver Award, his District Award of Merit, all of the training awards and certificates of appreciation. Maybe it is found in the pictures of them with their friends from Woodbadge Courses, or of boys at camp or at Court of Honors. No. This just means that we’re on the right track. You have to look deeper. In the back of a desk drawer, in a cardboard box. You find letters from a sailor, soldier, a coastguardsman, a state trooper, a man just finishing college, or one of “HIS” boys whose wife just had a son. They all have the same story. They didn’t understand then why someone would put so much effort into something with no reward and no pay. But when things got tough or when life threw them a twist, they found themselves falling back on the training and values they had found in Scouting. Thank you “Mr. Troxell!”
Now, I said it was my fault and I wish I could take some credit. Maybe it’s Jimmy Thompson’s. He gave me the application back in 1973 and I took it home to my parents, and we have been involved ever since. More importantly, I would like to thank everyone who has touched me in my Scouting experience. I have named a few, but there are many more. Now as I take my turn as a Webelos leader and interim Cubmaster for Pack 3025 and I watch my son, I think about a hot summer day at Scout Camp, in a cornfield in front of the ranger station, as we, the boys of Troop 25 stuck little sticks with pine needles on them into holes in the ground and gave them a little drink of water. Man did they ever grow!
Associate Editor’s Note: This is reprinted with permission from THE COURIER, the official messenger of the Anthony Wayne Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.