Sunday, July 28, 2013

Local Scouts heroic effort at Jambo gains local and national coverage

Scouts saved a school from flood damage during their Day of Service. Photo courtesy of Troop C415 and The Daily Corinthian newspaper.

By Errol Castens,
Daily Journal

“Do a good turn daily,” the Boy Scout slogan urges.

During the recent 40,000-person Jamboree in West Virginia, several Northeast Mississippi Scouts from Jamboree Troop C415 were helping improve a rural elementary school when routine tasks yielded to heroic measures.

“Troop C415 … went beyond their Messengers of Peace Day of Service project by helping to save from flood damage Cherry River Elementary School in Richwood, W.Va.,” wrote Gary Buscombe on

About 50 Scouts, leaders and Venturers made up the troop from the BSA’s Yocona Area Council, which covers 12 counties in Northeast Mississippi. They joined some 40,000 other participants in this year’s Jamboree to enjoy fellowship, workshops and a whole lot of fun, along with a day of service to local needs.

“We were helping them build an outdoor walking track and an area where they could hold outdoor classes overlooking the river,” said Assistant Scoutmaster John Mulkey of Oxford. They had cleared brush, hauled gravel and helped build a deck.
It was about 2 p.m. when the weather turned threatening.

“We decided we should come inside where we wouldn’t be hit by lightning,” said Eagle Scout and senior patrol leader William Rayburn of Oxford. After they took on indoor tasks, heavy rain began, and water came under the outside door of the cafeteria/ auditorium.
Rayburn and another Scout slowed the flow by blocking it with garbage bags, but as the rain increased, water began coming under several doors. Amazingly, information from a surprising source paid off.

“One Scout had attended a Coast Guard presentation earlier, and they showed how they stop flooding on a ship,” Rayburn said. “He used what he’d learned there to help stop the water.”

As the water got higher, several Scouts and leaders braved lightning and the ongoing downpour to remove debris from water-hidden culverts to increase the flow of water riverward.

Back inside, other Scouts continued damage control – some pulling up carpets and raising computers and books above floor level while others used brooms, mops and “whatever we had,” Rayburn said, to empty the school of as much as three inches of water that couldn’t be kept out.

Mulkey said he and other leaders were proud of the boys’ initiative and effort.
“The kids did all the work,” he said. “We were just there to make sure they stayed out of trouble doing it.”

Scoutmaster Pat Tucker of Corinth was quoted on as saying, “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They did their duty as Scouts and did more than just one good turn that day.”

You can also read Jamboree Today's version of the event at:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Iconic Scoutmaster Paul Eason dies at 91

Read the Daily Journal story here:   Paul Eason, longtime Scout leader, Tupelo councilman, dies at 91

Dear Scouting Family,

We are sad to announce the passing of long time scouter Paul Eason, who was born on November 4, 1921, died on July 1, 2013, in Ridgeland.  He was 91.

Paul lived nearly all his life in Tupelo. He graduated from Tupelo High School in 1939 and then went to Ole Miss. He served in the Navy during WWII as a pilot and flight instructor until the war ended.  He then returned to Tupelo, where he married high school classmate Margaret Brooks in 1950. They had two children, Margie and Brooks. Paul spent his career at Milam Manufacturing, Mantachie Manufacturing, and FMC, serving as plant manager and holding positions in safety, purchasing, and human resources.

Paul devoted his life to his family and his community. He is best known as the longtime Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 12.  As the troop's leader, Paul had a profound and positive influence on three generations of boys in Tupelo.
Paul was active in Troop 12 as a teenager and earned the rank of Eagle, Scouting's highest achievement.  After returning to Tupelo after the war, he agreed to become the troop's leader. Paul served as the head Scoutmaster for the next 45 years and then as an assistant for nearly 15 more.  During his almost six decades of working with the troop, 350 boys became Eagle Scouts, almost certainly more than under any other leader of any troop since the Boy Scouts of America was established a century ago. Troop 12's Eagles include Paul's son, three of his nephews, and one great nephew.

Not long after Paul became the Scoutmaster, one of his Scouts suggested that the troop go camping every month. Paul agreed, and a tradition was born, a tradition that has now outlived him.  Since August of 1951, come rain or shine, Troop 12 has gone on an overnight camping trip every month.  On July 12, the troop will travel to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming for its 744th consecutive monthly campout, completing its 62nd year without missing a month.  During his nearly six decades as a troop leader, Paul spent more than three years' worth of nights sleeping on the ground in a tent.  In addition to the countless hours he devoted to his Scouts, Paul gave of his time in many other ways. He served on the Tupelo Park and Recreation Commission for a quarter of a century and was chairman for seven years.

He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church and the Chapman Men's Bible Class and drove the church van to and from Traceway Manor to take elderly members to church services. He volunteered with Meals on Wheels, delivering meals to the elderly and disabled, and with Habitat for Humanity, building homes for families in need. He served on the Education Committee of the Community Development Foundation and volunteered his services to the United Way of Greater Lee County.

After Paul retired from FMC in 1986, friends convinced him to run for the Tupelo City Council. He was elected three times as Councilman-at-Large. His fellow Council members chose him to be Vice Mayor, and he served as acting Mayor when the incumbent accepted another position.

Paul received many honors for his lifetime of volunteer service. He was selected as Tupelo's Outstanding Citizen in 1976 and as the Best Man in Lee County two decades later.  He received the Julius G. Berry Award for outstanding service to the United Way, the Liberty Bell Award for community service to youth, and the Jefferson Award for outstanding community and public service. He was chosen to be king of Tupelo's Oleput Festival and grand marshal of the Tupelo Christmas Parade. The first soccer field at James Ballard Park was named Paul Eason Field. On his 90th birthday, Paul was honored with a resolution on the floor of the United States House of Representatives by Congressman Alan Nunnelee. He also received the key to the City of Tupelo from Mayor Jack Reed.

Paul was grateful for the honors he received, but he always remained humble. He was a rare man, totally unselfish, always giving, always thinking of others.  He served as an extraordinary role model for all who knew him - his family, his friends, his colleagues, and his Scouts.  He was a devoted father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He always did the right thing. Paul was preceded in death by his parents, C.C. and Margaret Eason; his wife, Margaret; his three sisters and their husbands, Myra and Bob Leake, Puddie and Guy Ruff, and Doris and Tom Joyner.  He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Margie and Brendan Corrigan of Davie, Florida; his son and daughter-in-law, Brooks and Carrie Eason of Ridgeland; six grandchildren, Megan Corrigan, Ann Lowrey Forster, Shannon Martin, Cliff Eason, Sean Corrigan, and Paul Eason; five great grandchildren, Ada Brooks Forster, Eason Forster, Shane Corrigan, Collins Forster, and Dylan Martin; nieces and nephews Eason Leake, Phil Ruff, David Ruff, Missy Flanagan, Leslie Bobo, Margaret Ann Cargo, and Meg Kruse; numerous great nieces and nephews; and more than a thousand former members of Boy Scout Troop 12. 

Funeral services will be held at noon on Monday, July 8, at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo with visitation at 10:00 a.m. and a reception following the service, both in the Gathering Room behind the sanctuary. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Paul Eason Fund of Boy Scout Troop 12, P.O. Box 312, Tupelo, MS 38802; First United Methodist Church, 412 West Main St., Tupelo, MS 38804; or Methodist Senior Services, MSS Development Office, P.O. Box 1567, Tupelo, MS 38802-1567.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Council holds media day at Camp Yocona

The council welcomed members of the local media to Camp Yocona today as part of our first annual Camp Media Day.  Visitors enjoyed lunch in the dining hall followed by a tour of camp complete with a trip down the COPE tower zip line. WTVA and WCBI both ran stories during evening broadcast.



Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal

Special thanks to Mitchell Diggs and Julie Chambers for helping make camp media day a success!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CubYocona 2013 highlights "Everyday Heroes"

CubYocona 2013 was held at Camp Yocona, May 26 - June 1.  Cub Scouts were treated to a jam-packed three days of beautiful weather and camping fun while honoring our local law enforcement, fire, EMS and emergency responders.

Mornings were full of theme related activities including search and rescue, shooting sports and field games while afternoons were primarily devoted to rank advancement.  Cubs were able to watch a jaws of life demonstration as well as a medi-vac helicopter landing in the activity field.  Evening programs were bright and spirited as the staff conducted the opening campfire while the cubs handled the closing campfire.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cold and Wet Weather Marks Winter Camp 2012

Winter Camp 2012 is in the books and was a cold, muddy success!  Over 125 scouts, leaders and staffers came to Camp Yocona December 27 - 30 to participate in a big selection of merit badge classes and activities.  Julie Chambers and Chase Stanford served as Co-Directors of Program and did a fantastic job with the event.  Rain and freezing rain was present for most of the event as temperatures hovered around freezing, even dropping into the teens Saturday night.  Spirits were bright though as everyone gathered around fires in the dining hall and administration building.  The third annual Polar Bear Swim was held Saturday in freezing rain with eight campers and two adults participating.  The theme of this years winter camp was "The End of the World" and coincided with the end of the Mayan calendar.

Congressman Roger Wicker named 2013 Council Distinguished Citizen

We are pleased to announce that Senator Roger Wicker has been selected as the 2013 Distinguished Citizen.  Roger F. Wicker has represented Mississippi in the United States Senate since December 2007. During his time in the Senate, Wicker has championed pro-growth policies to create jobs and has worked to reduce spending, limit federal overreach, and maintain a strong national defense. Prior to his service in the Senate, Wicker was elected seven times, beginning in 1994, to represent Mississippi's First Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, he served in the state Senate on behalf of Lee and Pontotoc counties. Senator Wicker served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force and then joined the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Reserve in 2004 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

A native of Pontotoc, Mississippi, the Senator is the son of former Circuit Judge Fred Wicker and the late Mrs. Wordna Wicker. He was educated in the public schools of Pontotoc and received his B.A. and law degrees from the University of Mississippi. Wicker is a member of the First Baptist Church Tupelo, where he sings in the choir. Senator Wicker is married to the former Gayle Long of Tupelo. They have three children: Margaret and son-in-law Manning McPhillips; Caroline and son-in-law Kirk Sims; and McDaniel Wicker (Eagle Scout Troop 12); and two grandchildren: Caroline and Henry McPhillips.

Senator Wicker will be honored on February 19th, 2013, at the annual Boy Scout Distinguished Citizen Dinner to be held in Tupelo at the BancorpSouth Conference Center at 6:30 PM. The dinner is being chaired by Mitch Waycaster of  Renasant Bank. Former recipients of this honor include author and producer Sam Haskell, BancorpSouth President Aubrey Patterson, acclaimed author John Grisham, football great Archie Manning, former governors William Winter and Haley Barbour, Senators Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, former Yocona Area Council Presidents Felix Black, Henry Brevard, Rob Leake, Bud McCarty, Jack Reed Sr. and J.C. Whitehead, "The Scoutmaster," and most recently the "Voice of the Bulldogs" Jack Cristil. The Distinguished Citizen Dinner is by invitation to Friends of Scoutingdonors with gifts of $250 or more, for your invitation or more information contact the Scout Service Center at 662-842-2871. 

Council Elects New President, Awards Silver Beavers at Annual Business Meeting

New Council President Kyle Smith
Yocona Area Council held its Annual Business Meeting and Volunteer Recognition Banquet on December 11, 2012 at the First United Methodist Church in Tupelo.  Kyle Smith, former Tallahatchie District Chairman, was elected as Council President.  Kyle is the CFO and Trust Officer of the People's Bank in Ripley.  Kyle has been involved with the council for many years and brings a cheerful optimism to the position.

Also on the agenda was the approval of district and council commissioners.  Johnny Price of Oxford retained his position as Council Commissioner while Ty Robinson, Scott Kirkland, Rob Freeman and Rick Robinson were elected District Commissioners of their respective districts.
John Fulwider recieves the Medal of Merit

One of the highlights of the evening was the awarding of the Medal of Merit to Eagle Scout John Fulwider of Troop 499 in Fulton.  John saved a classmate from choking by performing the Heimlich maneuver and for his efforts was awarded the Medal of Merit by the National Court of Honor. Congratulations, John...we are so proud of you!

Finally, the Council awarded the prestigious Silver Beaver to four Council Scouters.  Among those honored were Mark Lovil, Johnny Price, Debbie Dabbs and Joe Harris.  Many Silver Beaver recipients were on hand to witness the presentation.

Silver Beaver Recipients from L-R, Debbie Dabbs, Johnny Price,
Mark Lovil and Joe Harris