Firefighters’ union sponsoring Boy Scout, Cub Scout groups

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Thanks to city firefighters, northern Suffolk will soon have two new Boy Scout troops.

Local 2801 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the union for the city’s professional fire and rescue workers, is sponsoring Boy Scout Troop 911 and Cub Scout Troop 911, said union president J.R. Lilienthal.


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Both troops will begin meeting in April at the new North Suffolk Public Safety Center.

Mike Wells, scout master, proposed giving the troops the identification number &uot;911&uot; as a way of honoring sacrifices made by emergency responders during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

&uot;We also thought it would be a nice way to recognize our sponsoring organization,&uot; said Wells.

The two troops are the only two in the country using the number &uot;911,&uot; said Chuckatuck Scoutmaster George Fly, who is helping organize the new troops. Although a troop’s identification number is usually decided locally, leaders in the Colonial Trail District sought approval at the national level because of the potential sensitivity of that number, he added.

IAFF members were honored by the proposal, Lilienthal said.

&uot;Our membership was visibly moved by this when the motion came forth at our monthly meeting, and the vote was unanimous,&uot; he said. &uot;We are extremely proud to be the chartering organization for these young people.&uot;

The union recently gave each troop $200 to cover startup costs.

Lt. Braxton Sweat has volunteered to serve as the charter organization representative. He will be assisted by firefighters William Kessinger and Roger Stinnette. All three are Eagle Scouts.

They are looking forward to helping with the troops.

&uot;This is a worthwhile effort for our organization,&uot; said Sweat. &uot;While firefighters are involved in many charitable causes, people don’t often view labor unions as ‘giving back’ to the community, especially helping out with youth programs. We’re proud to be filling that gap.&uot;