The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 10, 2013

Leaders make difference in Scouts’ lives


Feb. 3-9 was National Scouting Anniversary Week, which marks the founding of the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910. We always wore our uniforms to school that week. We were brothers in olive green, and proud of it.

The Boy Scouts have been in the news lately because of the national organization’s historic — now controversial — ban on participation by openly gay men and boys.

I am from another era. If I belonged to a bigoted, discriminatory organization, I didn’t even know it.

I was in the Scouts from 1963 until 1971. As a Cub in Pack 13 at old Washington School, I earned my bronze Bobcat pin (which I still have), then moved on to Wolf, Bear, Lion and Webelos. When I was 11, I joined Troop 34, sponsored by Westville American Legion Post 51. I earned my Tenderfoot pin, then Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. I still have my Eagle pin, too … it’s real sterling silver.

Back then, nobody could even imagine an “openly gay” scoutmaster. Our troop leaders were World War II veterans, and most worked at the General Motors Central Foundry in Tilton. They were just regular men, like our own dads … “openly heterosexual,” I guess.

I rarely see a Boy Scout in uniform these days, but they were everywhere in the 1960s. Little Westville had two good-sized troops and Danville had some gigantic ones. We Baby Boomers were of Scout age. There were no computers, so most boys still loved being outdoors, doing fun stuff.

Our lives revolved around hikes, campouts, patrol activities, troop meetings, merit badge projects and devouring the latest issue of Boys’ Life magazine.

Our troop was run by Scoutmaster Joe “Pooch” Chmielewski and his assistants, Johnny Shapuras and Catty Serpinas. They were wonderful men who, without pay, took an unruly mob on camping trips when they could have been sipping beers at the Legion.

Text Only
Local News
  • Police, Fire Reports

    August 22, 2014

  • Donate tennis shoes Sunday

    August 22, 2014

  • Tilton board approves new TIF district

    Village trustees took the first step Thursday toward enticing more economic development in the village by approving an agreement with Moran Economic Development of Edwardsville to create a second tax increment funding district.

    August 22, 2014

  • New program to help Hoopeston Area students

    Karla Coon, the director of Danville Area Community College's Hoopeston site, and high school principal Larry Maynard presented a new idea to the Hoopeston School Board at Thursday's meeting.

    August 22, 2014

  • Man to face trial on battery charges DANVILLE — A local man will be held over for trial in connection with allegations he severely abused an infant last month.Benjamin K. Smith, 25, of Oakwood, appeared in Vermilion County Circuit Court for an afternoon preliminary hearing on charges of

    August 22, 2014

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleWednesdayA man arrested for disorderly conduct in the 1200 block of North Walnut Street.A man arrested for reckless driving in the 600 block of East Williams Street.Disorderly conduct in the 100 block of R

    August 22, 2014

  • Police step up traffic patrols around schools DANVILLE — Police are taking over the role of teachers beginning this week, using enforcement to remind drivers about the traffic laws around schools.It’s been almost three months since local students made the trek to school. With Danville District 1

    August 22, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Tuesday, 10:49-11 a.m. — A medical call in the 600 block of Plum Street.Tuesday, 1:55-3:02 p.m. — A gas leak reported at 2606 N. Vermilion St.Tuesday, 2:15-2:20 p.m. — A private alarm at the Village Mall,

    August 22, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    August 21, 2014

  • NWS-CN 08-21 Bomb photo Bomb scare empties city block

    DANVILLE — Emergency personnel shut down a city block and evacuated several businesses following a suspicious package found along North Walnut Street.Danville police were contacted a little after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after a black suitcase was discov

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

Spring 2014 Photos

Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
NDN Video
School serves diabetic girl trashcan pizza Battle of the Butts at the 2014 MTV VMAs! Four-Year-Old Reviews Exclusive Restaurant's $295 Fixed Price Menu Mariah Orders Nick Cannon to Stay Quiet About Divorce Details U.S. Military Strategy Against ISIS The London Zoo holds its annual animal weigh-in VIDEO: Goliath Grouper eats shark in one bite Rapper Almost Walks Off CNN Over Ferguson Coverage 2 American Ebola Patients Released From Hospital Whoa! Jimmy Fallon Shaves Jared Leto's Beard US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Reggie Jackson's ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Amazing Encounter With Sea Otter Caught on Video Motorcyclist Sticks Landing Sicilian hilltop homes on sale for one euro Are Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon Breaking Up? Joel McHale Interviews Chelsea This 'Breaking Bad' Reunion is the Most Hilarious Thing You'll See All Day! President Obama talks about who James Foley was Nicki Minaj Unleashes Her 'Anaconda' On the World
Must Read