Cub Scouts show veterans they care

  • From left to right, Pack 3 Cub Scouts Frank Carliell, 10, Nate Johnston, 10, Henry LaMagdelaine, 11, and Noah LaMagdelaine, 11, greet World War II Army Paratrooper Darwin Hine, 99, during a veterans luncheon hosted by Building Bridges at the Greenfield Elks Lodge on Church Street, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Air Force Veteran Verne Sund, left, talks with Pack 3 Cub Scouts Henry LaMagdelaine, center, Noah LaMagdelaine, right, and Nate Johnston, far right, during a veterans luncheon at the Greenfield Elks Lodge on Thursday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Pack 3 Cub Scout Nate Johnston salutes a military veteran entering the Elks Lodge for a luncheon Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Pack 3 Cub Scouts greet military veterans during a luncheon at the Elks Lodge Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Cub Scout Nate Johnston, 10, serves coffee to veterans at the Elks Lodge in Greenfield Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Published: 2/22/2018 5:38:07 PM

GREENFIELD — Scouts, veterans and Episcopalians all regard service to others as an important virtue. On Thursday, members of those three groups came together and demonstrated that at the Greenfield Elks Lodge.

Four Cub Scouts from Troop 5’s Pack 3 visited the lodge as a service project, greeting and saluting veterans who were attending their weekly free lunch.

The free lunch, part of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts’ Building Bridges project, has been happening in the city for about 14 months. According to some veterans in attendance, the Scouts’ presence gave the lunch a special feel.

“You always have to do a good deed,” said David Hill, a Marine Corps veteran who served from 1951 to 1953.

Frank Carliell, 10, Nate Johnston, 10, Henry LaMagdelaine, 11, and Noah LaMagdelaine, 11, held the door, took coats and hung them up, served drinks and cleaned up for the roughly 75 veterans there.

The four Cub Scouts are Webelos, the highest Cub Scout rank attained before becoming an official Boy Scout. Webelos is an acronym for “We’ll be loyal Scouts.”

“As part of their transition to Boy Scouts, they need to do community service,” Pack 3 Den Leader Virginia Haskell said.

The boys come up with their own ideas for service events, and Thursday wasn’t the first time the local Scouts have reached out to veterans.

According to Scoutmaster Mark Maloney, the Scouts participate in the Veterans Day and Memorial Day parades each year, as well as bring new flags to veterans’ graves each spring.

Having Scouts and veterans connect, Maloney said, is important for both parties. The Scouts learn more about the world through veterans’ stories and develop an appreciation for community service. The veterans are happy about the company and appreciation.

“For our Scouts, it’s a great opportunity to learn not only about our community, but about the wider world,” said Maloney, who stressed that having veterans of all ages talk with the boys will give them a new perspective on the world.

“When you look around in this room, you see generations that were raised to place an importance on service to their country,” Maloney said. “We want to teach that.”

Building Bridges is a program of the Episcopal Church in western Massachusetts that holds free lunches in Holyoke, Northampton, South Deerfield, Webster, West Springfield and Greenfield.

According to Building Bridges Associate Director Chad Wright, the Greenfield lunches consistently draw the most veterans.

“Our goal is to offer every veteran across the state one free meal a week as a way to say ‘thank you,’” said Wright, who is in the process of expanding Building Bridges to Chicopee.

A former Boy Scout and member of the Army National Guard, Wright was pleased when the Scouts came to him and asked to attend a lunch at the Elks Lodge. After all, he said, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was founded by veterans.

“There’s a strong correlation between Scouting and future military service and the Elks,” Wright said. “So, it’s really a good combination.”

The Rev. Chris Carlisle, Building Bridges director, said the program is about building a community, and the Scouts’ visit to the veterans only serves to further that goal.

“Service, putting another before oneself, these are all Christian virtues that are very much embedded in their culture,” Carlisle said. “Veterans too often become isolated, either by themselves or because towns can sometimes allow it to happen.”

Reach David McLellan at
or 413-772-0261, ext. 268


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