Boy Scouts honored by Fortuna Cemetery District, VFW

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

Boy Scout Troop 47, led by Joe McKenzie, recently received recognition for their efforts during the Memorial Day at the Fortuna Cemetery District.

"The Greatest Generation is starting to pass," McKenzie said. "I want my kids to know who they are and knew we needed to do more to further that."

It was that feeling that brought McKenzie in contact with Veterans of Foreign Wars member Bill Hummel. McKenzie had been doing Cub Scouts and knew he would be starting a Boy Scout Troop the following year. The VFW agreed to be the charter for the Boy Scout Troop 47.

After joining together, the idea was created that they would travel around to the cemetery district placing American flags on the graves of soldiers. The American Legion, who shares the Veteran's Building in Fortuna with the VFW, became the charter for Boy Scout Troop 205, which also takes part in the flag placement every year.

The two troops laid 950 flags within the local cemetery district on Memorial Day. The flags draw attention to the soldiers laid to rest for those who visit the cemetery's to visit loved ones or show their respect.

The very next day the scouts are back out in the cemetery district to collect the flags. As the scouts are collecting the flags they placed they also get a chance to see the freshly placed flowers and other items left by visitors over the previous day of reflection.

"We live in a great small town that is very community-oriented," McKenzie said. "We still have a little bit of Mayberry left. That is something that is hard to find in other places."

The Fortuna Cemetery District presented the Scout troops with certificates of appreciation and recognition for their efforts on Memorial Day. Recently at a flag disposal ceremony, Bill Hummel of the VFW presented Troop #47 with their certificate and a $250 check to provide a scholarship to a Boy Scout for their big six-day camp out.

Hummel said, "The troop is great and they are so eager to do it. It even rained one of the days and they were still out there. It is great to be able to show generations the meaning of Memorial Day as well as Veterans Day."