PARKERSBURG - Since 1917, Boy Scouts Troop 3, sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church, has been developing future citizens and leaders. In observance, the troop will hold a 95th Anniversary Reunion on Aug. 25. The highlight of a weekend will be a reunion dinner at the Shriners Center, 244 Watson Road, to salute alumni, leaders and members. The troop will celebrate its history and traditions with bugle calls, singing and story-telling, said Ron Taylor of Cincinnati, chairman of the reunion. The social hour begins at 5 p.m. in the Mountaineer Room. A buffet dinner will be served at 7 p.m.
Other events planned for the weekend are Friday the Don B. Lowe Scout House will be open from 7-9 p.m.; Saturday, lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., under the "big tent" at the Sea Scout Base in Belpre; Sunday, Camp Smitty, the troop's wilderness camp, will be open from 10 a.m. to noon.
Troop 3 is older than 99.5 percent of the estimated 41,000 Boy Scout troops in the U.S., said Taylor, Troop 3 assistant scoutmaster for 50 years and secretary of Troop 3 Alumni Inc. It is the oldest continuously operating Boy Scout troop in the Parkersburg area and the second oldest in West Virginia, Taylor said.
Since its founding, 127 of the more than 1,100 troop members have earned the rank of Eagle, Scouting's highest honor. By comparison, 2-4 percent of the members in a typical Boy Scout troop earns the Eagle award, Taylor said. Troop 3's Stanley Rawson was the first Eagle Scout in West Virginia.
Many of the troop's members have been movers and shakers in Parkersburg, including Dave McKain, author, historian and founder of the Oil & Gas Museum; former Judge Dan Douglass; Larry "Mad Max" Maxwell, Parkersburg Elks Lodge 2011 teacher of the year; Sam Ross; former Mayor Bill Brown; former county commission President Bob Tebay; local historian Bob Crooks, along with businessmen, dentists, doctors, lawyers and teachers.
The troop has produced appointees to the service academies, two admirals and the first commander of the nuclear submarine Nautilus, Joe Icenhower. During World War II, more than 150 members distinguished themselves in the military while serving in various theaters of operation. Several of these veterans are alive today and plan on attending this year's reunion.
A major contributor to the troop's longevity has been the continuity of volunteer leadership. Since 1917, the troop has had just four scoutmasters. Scoutmaster Tom Dukas is serving his 28th consecutive year.
The troop conducts an active year-round camping, canoeing, hiking and outdoor program that works to build character, confidence and leadership skills while teaching its members how to become good citizens.
Troop 3 welcomes young men ages 11-17. Boys interested in learning more about membership opportunities can do so by going to Troop 3's website and viewing the "What We Do" video. The troop meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Don B. Lowe Scout House at the First Presbyterian Church. Parkersburg's Oil & Gas Museum has recognized Troop 3 through its "Don B. Lowe Room" exhibit that includes photographs on long-term loan from the troop's vast collection, plus artifacts and memorabilia representing the history of the troop and founding scoutmaster Lowe. Current and former members of Troop 3 and Sea Scout Ship 3, their wives, spouses, dates and families are invited to attend the reunion. Attendance at the reunion is by reservation only since much planning is required, Taylor said.
Any alum who has not received an invitation can obtain an invitation and reservation form on the troop's website at www.troop3wv.org. Those wishing to provide alumni address and contact information can email the troop at firstname.lastname@example.org The deadline to return forms with a check made out to Troop 3, BSA, is July 25.