Troop 501 Eagle Scouts

Andrew Jackson - 2011

Project: Recycle Bins at the World Bird Sanctuary

William "Billy" John Fisher, III - 2012

Project: Fire Truck Reading Center at Arnold Branch Library

Christopher "Blake" Hufford - 2013

Project: Flag Pole Installation and Beautification Project at New Hope United Methodist Church

Paul Morton Claeys - 2013

Project: Playground Renovation and Update; Construction and Installation of Benches at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Drew Vitello - 2014

Project: Development and Installation of interactive, 3-D, educational playground mural at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Merry Christmas

Be Prepared for Merriest Christmas

In keeping the 12th Point of the Scout Law, I not only want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but to remember that it is the birth of our Lord and Savior that we celebrate on this day…

Unto You Is BornImmanuel

Pearl Harbour Day

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From KSDK, Saint Louis Channel 5:

The battleship U.S.S Missouri’s place in history was cemented the moment the Japanese surrendered on her deck, ending World War Two. Lesser known is another ship baring an even more familiar name. It’s a story of bravery and guts mixed with a little luck.

It took place during a two-hour period, on a day no American will ever forget. The day was December 7, 1941. Marty Barnes, a 19-year-old Marine from Missouri, awoke early. He was in an especially good mood that day. Just hours before he enjoyed a day of liberty he knew he’d remember forever. How many other 19 year olds got a chance to bike around the Hawaiian Islands, enjoy a wonderful meal and then have the honor of raising the American flag?

As a member of the Marine color guard on board the light cruiser U.S.S. St. Louis, his detail is responsible for raising the flags each morning. On this morning, he was on deck by 7:30. The deck of the St. Louis was still damp from the morning mist. The ship had just returned to Pearl Harbor from a short stint with the Asiatic Fleet and was moored outboard of the U.S.S. Honolulu.

Glancing across the port side of his ship, he could see the color guard unit of the Honolulu preparing their flags. On the starboard side, the exact same actions were taking place on the U.S.S. San Francisco. All three cruisers were moored to the pier at Berth B-17 in the Southeast Loch of Pearl Harbor.

“I was on deck when the attack started,” remembered Barnes. “By the time they dismissed the color guard, why all the hatches had been dogged down and you can’t open them once they sound battle stations aboard ship. If you’re on topside, you stay topside, so I was topside.”

Planes, bombs and black smoke filled the air as Barnes and his shipmates went into action. Barnes’ battle station was at the front of St. Louis. Because of his flag raising duties, he was as far aft as possible. With no chance of getting to his assigned place, he immediately manned the closest gun, a .50 caliber machine gun and opened fire. “The crew of the St. Louis was fighting in five minutes,” said Barnes. By 8 a.m. the ship’s 1.1″ battery of weapons was fully manned and in action delivering a full volume of fire at the attackers.

As sailors and Marines fought frantically on deck, orders were given at once to raise steam in six boilers. Two were undergoing routine cleaning. They were also ordered to make all preparations for getting underway at the earliest possible moment.

The U.S.S. St. Louis made a good target, sandwiched between the Honolulu and the San Francisco, and it didn’t take long before the Japanese realized it too. At about 9 a.m., a formation of six dive bombers began an attack run on the Honolulu and St. Louis from an altitude of about 6,000 to 7,000 feet. Barnes and the other Marines manning the .50 caliber machine guns concentrated their fire on the bombers. Four of the planes sheered to the left and released their bombs. The bombs landed in the water between the dock and Ford Island. The fifth plane dropped its bomb about 200 feet from the Honolulu. But the sixth plane got its bomb close enough to cause damage.

“The Honolulu was tied up to the dock, we were tied up next to the Honolulu and the bomb went between the Honolulu and the docks and blew a hole in her side,” said Barnes. “We weren’t hit by that bomb, but it did shake us up a little.” At 9:31 a.m., the St. Louis was ready to get underway. With boiler power for 29 knots, Captain George Rood began pushing the St. Louis out to sea, via the South Channel. The destruction in the harbor forced Captain Rood to take a longer route, around Ford Island. Barnes continued firing his 50 caliber machine gun as St. Louis passed battleship row to get out.

“You see men in the water. And the oil, the burning oil. You see men on decks of ships that are sinking. You see men that don’t have a chance in hell of getting out of there. And you know that some of them are going to die.”

The St. Louis raced through the harbor at five times normal speed. But even at that speed she remained a target of Japanese fighters, who strafed her twice. As she neared the outlet to the Pacific, it seemed her luck would hold up. “On the way out, we ran across a midget submarine trying to come in. They fired two torpedoes at the St. Louis, but both of them exploded in the coral,” remembered Barnes.

Barnes remembering running into Japanese mini-sub. The trail of the torpedoes, led the watchful eyes of the crew of the St. Louis to identify a dark gray object about 18 feet long, projecting above the water about 8 feet. “Captain Rood turned his ship slightly enough so he could bring to bare one of his five inch mounts and put a round right in the tally-tare of the submarine, and it was sunk right there,” said Barnes. The St. Louis was now clear to sail into open ocean. She joined a small task force of ships, but were ordered not to pursue any enemy ships, but rather patrol the inlet to Pearl Harbor. For the crew of the “Lucky Lou,” the morning of December 7th, was now over. She was the only ship of her size to fight her way out of the harbor to fight another day.

Happy Saint Nicholas Day

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The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the saint-nicholas-of-myra1poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

saint-nicolas-swiss-lgThrough the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.

One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery. Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.