Boy Scout Troop 17 was led by Scout Master Pete Scott and an assistant in the 1970s and sponsored by Kernstown Presbyterian Church. Both Scott and his scout assistant were both transferred by their employer out of the area and the troop was left without adult leadership.
Lew Boyer accepted the position of Scout Master and Gene Larrick Assistant Scout Master. The Troop was relocated from Kernstown to Stephens City and became Troop 15 after receiving sponsorship from Stephens City UMC in February, 1978. Boyer would continue his leadership position for 32 years and Larrick would eventually leave because of an employment transfer to Pennsylvania and was replaced by Bob Wells in 1988.
Wells wrote an instructional booklet, “Trail to the Eagle,” which is an Eagle Scout candidate’s service workbook instruction. “An Eagle Scout candidate and his advisor needed a detailed document to ensure all Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National, Council, and District rules, regulations, and requirements were followed,” said Wells. Instructions included selecting, planning, documenting, coordinating, and pricing of an Eagle project. The booklet was adopted by the BSA Shenandoah Area Council.
Since Lew Boyer retired, there have been only two other Scout Masters, John Petrie II in 2010 who served for eight years, and Jim Vogt in 2018 who has been serving for five years. There have been an estimated fifty assistant scout masters over the years. Troop sponsorship was recently transferred to the Stephens City Lions Club.
All Scout Masters and Assistant Scout Masters are fully trained including in Youth Protection which helps establish the most secure environment possible for youth members.
Wood Badge training teaches adult leaders about communication skills, team building, unit recruiting techniques, how all the Scouting programs work together to teach character building and leadership skills to youth. This rigorous training was earned by Bob Wells, John Petrie II, Lew Boyer, Bill Joyce, and Jim Vogt.
The Silver Beaver Award is bestowed upon only those adult leaders who have given continuous, unselfish, and effective service to the community. The Silver Beaver Award is the highest recognition a local Council can bestow upon volunteer leaders. This prestigious award was earned by Bob Wells, John Petrie II, Lew Boyer, and Bill Joyce.
Troop 15 celebrated 45-years of continuous activity at the Stephens City Scout Cabin on Thursday, April 6. Present Scout Master Jim Vogt emceed the event and troop members under the leadership of Senior Patrol Leader Zeke Wilfong handled the opening and closing of the meeting and celebration. Three of the past Eagle Scouts (Colby Barham, Luke Barham, and Samuel “Colt” Barham) were among the attendees.
Former Scout Master, Lew Boyer presented 45 years of troop accomplishments and encouraged the current scouts to continue their good efforts and to abide by the Scout Law; to always help other people, to keep physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. The troop credits its longevity to being active with regular weekly meetings and monthly camping or hiking, and participating in various community service projects. Each month’s program is devoted to fundamental skills, merit badge interest, and efforts toward rank advancement. The scouts work as a team in a patrol and have numerous opportunities to develop leadership skills.
Thirteen-year-old Senior Patrol Leader and Star Scout, Zeke Wilfong, describes his experience as a scout. “I have been in Boy Scouting almost three years. I have learned that people can surprise me when they are placed in different situations. When camping, some scouts have never cooked over an open fire or ever pitched a tent. I try to step in and help them,” Wilfong said. As a Star Scout and patrol leader, Wilfong believes scouting has taught him good communication skills and made him feel more confident when directing other scouts. “I have learned to have a vision, a goal to what I want to accomplish. I plan to reach Eagle Scout and as an adult, eventually serve on the BSA Shenandoah Area Council,” said Wilfong.
The troop has attended a week-long summer camp annually at Camp Rock Enon (except for the COVID-19 year). Camp Rock Enon Scout Reservation is in the northwestern tip of Virginia and is conveniently located for many outdoor activities such as hiking the Appalachian or Tuscarora trails, canoeing, or rafting on the Potomac River, rock climbing and rappelling, canyoneering, and river tubing.
Camporee participation has also been a major event for the troop. A camporee (scheduled fall, winter, spring) is a fun filled weekend with skill competitions and meeting Scouts from around the district. The camporee skill competitions take place by patrols within the troop. These competitions usually cover fundamental outdoor skills like fire building, knot tying, or cooking. Troop 15 has been very successful in winning its share of camporee competitions.
Since its inception, the average troop size has been ten to fourteen boys. The highest enrollment period was 2010-2018 with an average of fifteen boys to twenty-two. Throughout its many years of existence, long serving leaders believe that approximately 400 youth had been served with 53 attaining the highest rank of Eagle Scout. Troop 15’s advancement record is notable as approximately 13% of all boys have achieved the Eagle rank. Nationally, only 4 percent of all Boy Scouts reach Eagle Scout.
To make Eagle rank, a scout works through the ranks as follows: Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and then Eagle. To be eligible for the Eagle rank, a scout must earn fourteen required merit badges, seven optional badges, and complete a scout generated and directed leadership project of significant value to the local community.
Troop 15 is very proud of the service they provide annually to the community. The entire troop has averaged around 300 hours of community service each year. “The calculation is based on ten scouts and two adults each performing twenty-five hours of service annually,” said Scout Master Vogt.
The types of Scout service projects are varied and include work with the US Forest Service, state parks, local churches, and towns. Troop 15 has previously participated in Scouting for Food at the Stephens City UMC Food Pantry during two Saturdays in November as well as numerous property clean ups for senior citizen centers, churches, The Town of Stephens City, and summer camp set ups and break downs at Camp Rock Enon in Gore VA in addition to forest clearings at the same camp.
The troop marches in the annual Newtown Heritage Festival parade and supports color guards for both Veterans Day and Memorial Day celebrations as well as partaking in dozens of flag retirement ceremonies for Stephens City, the AMVETS Club, and the Scout Council. The next community project is scheduled April 29, 2023. The scouts plan a collection sweep of trash and debris in the forest around the Autumn Glen Homeowners Association at Tasker Road and Warrior Drive in Stephens City. The Scouts will bring trash bags, a wheelbarrow, and a pickup truck to haul away collected debris.
According to Lew Boyer, a Boy Scout Troop’s value to the community should never be undervalued. A scout needs family support to achieve success. Parents are required to transport the scout to scheduled meetings and events, provide uniforms and applicable equipment, and assist with their scout’s advancement in the troop. The scout will learn teamwork and be provided leadership opportunities. The Scout will partake in various physical and interpersonal skill development and most importantly make long lasting friendships.
About the Future
Troop 15 has been in Stephens City for 45 years which is a little less than half the time Scouting in the United States has existed (founded in 1910). In another five years, the troop will celebrate their fiftieth anniversary. At that time a time capsule (wooden box) will be opened. The box was sealed in 2008 when celebrating the Troop’s thirtieth anniversary. It contains scout artifacts that were relevant at the time and letters from departing senior scouts. It should be something special for the troop to experience when the contents of the capsule are revealed. Everyone is invited to view the contents and celebrate the anniversary.
According to Scout Master Vogt, scouting continually needs parents to step forward and serve as scout leaders or to serve in a more minor role. The parent who is great with hands on tools can share his talents with young men, whereas the parent who is naturally organized may coordinate the camping trips, and the self-proclaimed chef might help design the camping menu or the year end banquet. Regardless of your skill – there is a place for you in Scouting and in the Scouting community.
Note: Scout Master Edward Ambrose first established Stephens City Troop 6 in 1951. He was a carpenter by trade however, Ambrose became well known for his wood carvings after he became a Scout Leader. Ambrose held the position for twenty years, teaching the boys to carve and make wooden neckerchief slides. He carved a twenty-four-foot-high totem pole which stood in front of the Scout Cabin before it was stolen. The Scout Cabin was built in 1956 by the Town of Stephens City. The building received additions and upgrades in the 1970s and 80s. Troop 6 was disbanded in the 1980s and afterward Troop 15 was invited to relocate to the Scout Cabin. The building, located on Locust Street, contains scouting memorabilia from the past and continues to display the rich history of the scouting movement in Stephens City.
School Board Bids Rinaldi Farewell; Votes to Lengthen Contract for Truancy Prevention Officer
The Warren County School Board on Wednesday, December 6, unanimously voted to extend the contract length for a secondary truancy prevention officer from 10 months to 12 months and said goodbye to one of its own members, who is leaving at the end of the year.
School Board Chair Kristen Pence, Vice Chair Ralph Rinaldi, and board members Antoinette Funk, Andrea Lo, and Melanie Salins were present during the board’s final meeting of 2023.
The meeting was Rinaldi’s last as a School Board member as his term expires at the end of the year, and he decided against running for re-election.
“It’s been a great four years,” Pence told him. “I don’t think either of us could have known when we sat in our training in December of 2019 exactly what the four years were going to look like.”
Pence acknowledged Rinaldi’s passion for WCPS, the students, and the teachers. She also highlighted his work on the board’s Facilities Committee and his input on the renovation project at Leslie Fox Keyser (LFK) Elementary School.
“We’re all very appreciative of all of the work and dedication that you’ve done here,” said Pence, who presented him with a wall clock made by students at the Blue Ridge Technical Center and a brick of dedication from the LFK project.
Warren County Public Schools (WCPS) Superintendent Christopher Ballenger thanked Rinaldi for his efforts.
“I want to say thank you for your leadership,” the superintendent told Rinaldi. “I appreciate the wisdom you’ve been able to share and your dedication to students and to the schools of Warren County.”
Rinaldi told his colleagues he appreciated being part of a “good team.”
“It’s great to work with people who are on the same page,” he said. “And this board has been on the same page.”
While he admitted the board has faced some “rough spots,” Rinaldi said the School Board has achieved many goals and it’s been his pleasure to serve on it.
“Dr. Pence and I came on, and then COVID hit, and then we had to hire a superintendent,” he said. “I mean, we were really kind of slammed. So, I appreciate her leadership more than you know.”
Tom McFadden, Jr., elected to replace Rinaldi as the School Board member representing the Shenandoah District, spoke during the community participation portion of Wednesday’s meeting to introduce himself to the community and thank residents for their votes.
McFadden (above), the vice president of enrollment at Christendom College since 2014, has lived in Warren County for 23 years with his wife and 11 children. He noted that prior to his election in November, “there was a lot of chatter on social media about me — continues to this day — and what agenda I may hope to bring to the schools here in Warren County.”
McFadden said that while people didn’t ask him what his agenda was, they assumed certain things about him “due to my affiliation with the Catholic Church.”
“The fact that my children are homeschooled and I did not have any children enrolled in the school system, they wondered what agenda I might be trying to impose,” McFadden said. “I’m here to tell you that my only agenda is to provide a quality education opportunity for every student to achieve their highest academic learning potential, develop positive core values, reflective of our community, and enter higher education or the workforce, their choice, being well-prepared.”
The incoming board member said he also wants to help further the mission of WCPS by enhancing the community’s support of sports, increasing active parental involvement, and providing “clear, concise, and frequent communication.”
During the last few weeks, McFadden said he has met with WCPS principals and learned what they think the School Board can do to assist them with policies or what topics the board should be focused on.
“I’ve told each of them the same thing: my only agenda is to help them,” McFadden said. “I look forward to our working relationship over the next four years.”
The School Board also took several actions during its meeting, including unanimously approving the Secondary Truancy Prevention Officer position from a 10-months to a 12-month contract effective January 1, 2024, and scheduling its 2024 organizational meeting on Wednesday, January 3, 2024, at 5:30 p.m., in the Board Room of the Warren County Government Center.
To watch the December 6 School Board meeting in its entirety, go to: https://wcps.new.swagit.com/videos/283684#
Wildlife Center’s ‘Patient of the Week’ highlights importance of protecting region’s wild animals
It’s been a few years since Royal Examiner representatives visited the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center (BRWC) in Boyce, and most of that time our online newspaper has been pleased, and honored, to publish each week the photo and story behind injured animals that are delivered, now by the thousand each year, for treatment and, unfortunately for some, the benefits of euthanasia.
Many of these animals, however, are treated by not one, but now two, on-site veterinarians and their helpers, some volunteers among them, as the center has developed from its original old, old house, to a modern hospital enabling staff to admit and provide urgent medical care for hundreds more animals, birds and reptiles annually. Staff has increased exponentially over the past decade also, including the doubling up of veterinary care, as earlier mentioned.
Many of these unfortunate wild animals, indigenous to our region, are struck by vehicles or by victimized by garden tending materials accidents, others are poisoned by the effect of hunters’ lead bullets left in abandoned portions of carcasses left in the wild. Readily available unleaded ammunition is recommended regularly by BRWC. The injured may be operated on for the most serious and painful of injuries, and hopefully recover enough to be released back into the wild.
Some that are left with tended injuries that nevertheless make them unable to return to their habitats, are carefully housed in outside viewing areas, in airy cages, are labelled “ambassadors” and are used as educational tools in schools, service and other organizations, taking to the road almost weekly to spread the word about what the center, which is not subsidized by government entities but operates only on donated funds, does and how it does it. The weekly publication of the “Patient of the Week” and its photograph, has steadily shown the public the how and the why protection of our local wildlife is so important to ours and neighboring counties, and perhaps why we should give consideration to donating to the cause.
We’ve noticed over the months how owls appear to be one of the more common intakes among all animals, birds and reptiles, including the handsome old boy featured in the following “Patient of the Week” report from the center. We take the opportunity to wish him well, and welcome his eventual release to his home environment. Important to his recovery was the center’s new X-ray machine that a spokesperson said “could never have been purchased without the amazing donations made at this past fall’s fundraising gala!”
This owl, with broken metacarpals (“fingers”), is expected to recover well enough not to join others of his kind as a permanent resident “ambassador”. As with all the wildlife that arrives at the center, the vets and the center staff rejoice upon their patient recoveries that allow them to be released back to their natural habitat to begin life anew. So, off he will fly in the New Year.
We hope you will read through and study the photographs of this wise old owl, and follow our weekly series with interest and feeling for our native animal friends.
To contact BRWC, at 106 Island Farm Lane, Boyce, VA 22620, call (540) 837-9000 or email email@example.com.
(Malcolm Barr Sr., contributing writer for the Royal Examiner, is a lifelong friend of all animals, wild, domestic, great and small!)
Blue Ridge Wildlife Center Patient of the Week: Barred Owl
This Barred owl was brought in to us after being found down along a roadside with broken metacarpals (“fingers”) on the left wing.
This is the “before” radiograph, showing that both the major AND minor metacarpal bones are fractured and badly displaced.
Due to the owl’s critical condition at intake, surgery was not possible until the following day.
After 24 hours of pain medications and fluids, this patient was in far more stable condition and our veterinary staff was able to perform surgery to place an external fixator to stabilize the metacarpal bones.
This year we were able to purchase a much-needed brand-new X-ray machine to replace our older unit that had recently broken down.
Not only is this new machine more reliable, it is also mobile, which allows us to take radiographs mid-surgery in our operating room without having to move the patient back and forth between radiology and surgery.
This was our pre-op setup. The x-ray detector plate is placed directly on the surgery table, then a heat pad and towel laid on top.
Because x-rays can penetrate easily through fabric, this does not create any issues with the images.
This was taken intraoperatively, as you can see owl’s body overlying the wavy heating element of the heat pad. Because it can sometimes be difficult to correlate what is palpable to actual bone orientation, the surgical clamp seen was used as a landmark. Comparing its physical location to what is seen on the radiograph can help improve alignment.
It is simply amazing to be able to do this without having to break sterile field or otherwise disturb an anesthetized patient, which would be the case with a typical standing x-ray machine.
The “after” photo: both metacarpal bones are well-aligned!
Having access to a reliable x-ray machine is critical to treating a large portion of our patients that come in with broken bones, swallowed hooks, or gunshot wounds.
This x-ray machine, and other critical medical equipment, could never have been purchased without the amazing donations made at this past Fall’s Gala.
This owl has been recovering well and has finally begun to eat on their own.
They’ll require bandage changes and cage rest for the next few weeks while the bone continues to heal, and then will require a bit of time in our outdoor pre-release enclosures for reconditioning.
We’ll be monitoring recovery closely and we hope to have them released and back home early in the New Year!
Looking for an easy way to help native wildlife? Become a monthly BRWC donor! For as little as $5/month, you can provide year-round, sustainable support that helps us fulfill our mission.
Invitation to Bid: E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School Gymnasium Conversion
You are invited to bid on a general contract for Warren County Public Schools, E. Wilson Morrison Elementary School Gymnasium Conversion for the Warren County School Board. This project generally consists of converting an existing auditorium with sloped floor to an elementary gymnasium. All bids shall be on a lump sum basis.
Bids shall be received until 2:00 P.M. local prevailing time on December 18, 2023, to the attention of Dr. Chris Ballenger, Superintendent, in the Board Room of the Warren County Public School Administration Building, 210 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630, at which time they will be opened publicly and read aloud. Bids received after this time will not be accepted. All interested parties are invited to attend.
Drawings and specifications may be examined at the Office of the Architect/Engineer, the Warren County School Board office, and at the following locations:
Valley Construction News
426 Campbell Avenue SW
Roanoke, VA 24016
The Blue Book Bldg. & Construction Network
800 E. Main Street
Jefferson Valley, NY 10535
Builders Exchange of Tennessee
300 Clark Street
Knoxville, TN 37921
DODGE Data & Analytics
3315 Central Avenue
Hot Springs, AR 71913
30 Technology Parkway South
Norcross, GA 30092-2912
400 SW 7th Street
Stuart, FL 34994
Plans and specifications can be obtained via download from ShareFile at no cost. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for ShareFile access. Upon receipt of valid email address, ZMM Architects & Engineers will provide a password with instructions on accessing and downloading plans and specifications. Hard copies of plans and specifications can be obtained from ZMM upon receipt of a nonrefundable check in the amount of $75.00. Plans and specifications can be shipped for additional charge. Contact ZMM for further details.
Bids shall be accompanied by a bid guarantee of not less than 5% of the amount of the bid, which may be a certified check or cashier’s check, or a bid bond of 5% of the amount of the bid, made payable to Warren County School Board. A performance bond, payment bond and a material and labor bond will be required and the cost shall be included in the bid price.
Bidders are required under Title 54.1, Chapter 11, Code of Virginia (1950), as amended, to be licensed as a “Class A Contractor” before submitting a bid of one hundred twenty thousand ($120,000) dollars or more; or to be licensed as a “Class B Contractor” before submitting a bid of ten thousand ($10,000) dollars or more but less than one hundred twenty thousand ($120,000) dollars; or be licensed as a “Class C Contractor” before submitting a bid of no more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000). Each Bidder will be required to give their State Registration Number on their proposal. All non-resident contractors and subcontractors bidding the work described herein shall register with the Department of Labor and Industry under the provisions of Section 40.1-30 of the Code of Virginia.
The Owner reserves the right to waive irregularities and to reject any or all bids.
A pre-bid conference will be held on December 3, 2023 beginning at 10:00 A.M. at the Warren County Public School Administration Building, 210 N. Commerce Avenue, Front Royal, VA 22630 with a tour of the school afterwards. The school is located at 40 Crescent St., Front Royal, VA 22630. This will provide an opportunity to answer questions and explain any items requiring further clarification.
Bids shall be binding for a period of sixty (60) days from the date on which bids are opened.
Warren County School Board
Dr. Chris Ballenger
Pearl Harbor: The Day That Changed America Forever
An Infamous Day in American History
On December 7, 1941, a day President Franklin Roosevelt declared would “live in infamy,” the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was attacked by Japanese forces. This catastrophic event not only led to the loss of over 2,300 American lives but also marked a pivotal moment in world history, catapulting the United States into World War II.
A Nation Shaken and Mobilized
The attack on Pearl Harbor caused unprecedented destruction. The U.S.S. Arizona was obliterated, and the U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, among other significant losses. Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel’s urgent dispatch encapsulated the shock and severity of the situation: “AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.” The following day, Congress declared war on Japan, signifying the end of America’s isolationism and the beginning of its significant role in World War II. The nation rapidly transitioned to a wartime economy, accelerating armaments production for military campaigns across multiple fronts.
The Human Response: Voices from the Aftermath
In the wake of the attack, Alan Lomax, head of the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Song, sought to capture the public’s immediate reactions. Folklorists recorded diverse perspectives, from a Californian woman in Texas lamenting the rise of hatred to ordinary Americans grappling with the sudden thrust into a global conflict. These “man on the street” interviews offer a poignant glimpse into the national psyche at a time of great uncertainty and sorrow.
Propaganda and Patriotism
The Office of War Information (OWI), established months after the attack, utilized collective fear and outrage to bolster support for the war effort. The OWI effectively mobilized public sentiment and labor toward the war cause through propaganda that highlighted American patriotism.
Preserving History: Library of Congress’s Role
The Library of Congress plays a crucial role in preserving the memories of Pearl Harbor. It houses an annotated NBC news report script from December 7, 1941, emphasizing the news delivery’s gravity. The Library’s extensive collection includes recordings of wartime broadcasts, post-battle assessments, and even stories from World War II veterans, offering a comprehensive look into the era’s history.
The attack on Pearl Harbor remains a defining moment in American history. It led to a major shift in global politics and deeply affected the American spirit. The collective memory of this event, preserved through various mediums, continues to remind us of the resilience and unity displayed in the face of adversity.
Principals Confirm Pending Sale of 53.8-Acre Portion of Expanded SVGC to Local Private School
Officials of both the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club (SVGC) and Dominion Ridge Academy confirmed the pending sale of a 53.87-acre portion of the former Bowling Green Country Club acquired recently by SVGC, to the Christian-based, non-denominational pre-K through 12th-grade school founded in 2006. The school has been seeking to expand its physical plant for about a decade and now plans to do so on the acquired property, which includes a 15,000 to 16,000 square-foot clubhouse.
SVGC owner Richard Runyon described the portion of his club planned for sale as the front 9 of the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club’s Rockland Farm Course, which was the old South Course at Bowling Green.
According to its website Dominion Ridge is a Christian-based, non-denominational pre-K through 12th-grade school founded in 2006, graduating its first class in 2012 as its enrollment grew to about 100. Its current enrollment was cited at 180 by Dominion Ridge Board member and Acting Chairman Michael Graham.
Contacted about the pending sale both Graham and Runyon said they would like to defer further comment on the sale process and potential impacts on their operations until that process has been finalized. Royal Examiner agreed to accommodate those wishes.