Troop 79 celebrates 75th anniversary
Boy Scout Troop 79 celebrated its 75th anniversary Nov. 1.
During the celebration, committee members Joe Heberling and Mike McCloud and Scoutmaster Al Edelman opened the 50th anniversary time capsule. In it were a cup, rosary, newspaper clippings, photos and programs from many years ago.
"Frank Tauber, our charter representative, was active with the troop when they buried the 50-year time capsule. He is my neighbor and one of the finest people I know, as are all of the current leaders and committees members," McCloud said. "Tauber is a major reason we were so motivated to make this an even bigger event than the 50th anniversary he chaired."
Committee chair David Sodl presented a plaque to Tauber for his dedication to Troop 79 throughout the years.
Tauber shared some history of the troop. In 1937, Father Charles Ruffenach of St. John the Baptist Church in Stiles proposed a place for the youth of the parish, especially the Boy Scouts, even though at the time a troop was not yet formed.
Ruffenach approached Daniel Ritter, general manager of Lehigh Portland Cement Company, and asked for an old office building at the corner of MacArthur Road and Columbia Street which was scheduled to be razed. In 1938, the building was moved. It is known today as the Rev. Charles J. Ruffenach Hall.
Ruffenach first proposed a Scout troop to the parish at a Holy Name meeting early in the spring of 1938. In July of the same year, a half dozen men volunteered to take the basic leaders course offered by the Boy Scouts of America. The troop received its first charter August 1938 with Frank Csenscits as the first Scoutmaster and a roster of 11 boys.
The troop had its first campout in the summer of 1939 at the Trexler Scout Reservation. The second campout was in the fall of the same year at Hickory Run State Park. Other outdoor activities consisted of hikes and overnighters to the Rising Sun, Kernsville Dam, Central Quarry in Egypt, Ironton Mine Hole – one of the Scouts' favorite swimming holes – and Mary Immaculate Seminary.
In the mid 1950s, the troop held its first Easter flower sale in Ruffenach Hall. In the spring of 1987, the troop held its first spaghetti supper to help defray the cost of summer camp. Both of these traditions continue today.
For many years, the troop held pancake breakfasts in order to contribute to the fundraising effort as well.
Throughout the years, the number of boys in the troop has fluctuated from the initial 11 to a high of 41 boys in early 2014.
In 1983, David Seier was the first to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. To date, a total of 26 Scouts have achieved that honor. In 1982, eight boys received the first ADD Religious Medal which is one of the Catholic Scouting Awards.
The troop continues to go to summer camp, now located at Camp Brule in Sullivan County, with other camping trips to Camp Serranova, Hawk Mountain Scout Reservation and Camp Trexler Scout Reservation.
The troop assumed the responsibility of maintaining the Stiles Memorial after an Eagle Scout project was done. This project included lighting, planting trees and shrubbery and putting in flag poles with flags to honor each of the branches of the armed forces.
"Al Edelman and David Sodl Sr. have also given a lifetime of guidance and support to both the Boy Scouts of Troop 79 and to Minsi Trails Council. Countless hours of their own time and following in the footsteps of many great people who have come before them, donating time and effort in helping to build character, morals and leadership qualities in the boys of our community," McCloud added. "Joe Heberling was one of our finest cubmasters and his guidance of our younger boys during that time is a big reason for the continued growth of our troop, and he continues to support our troop and our boys to this day. Amy Yanoshick has also been a major contributor, again, both in our troop and with Minsi Trails Council. Among many other things, she has been able to give our boys a different point of view of the world. This, in addition to these boys' fine mothers, offer a woman's point of view which should serve them well throughout their lives. Here's to another 75 years of continuous charter for Troop 79 and another 75 years of helping to teach and guide the young men of our community into strong future leaders themselves."