Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc and destruction throughout parts of the Caribbean and Florida last week. On Monday, September 11, 2017, the weather system, although downgraded to a tropical storm, adversely affected all Georgians with high winds and torrential rains that caused downed power lines, fallen trees, and the death of at least three Georgians.
Despite the severity of the storm, Snellville Boy Scout Troop #506 saw an opportunity to help their community by lending a helping hand to those in need in the Lawrenceville area.
Assistant Scout Master, Trent Spake, and his wife, Kristin, drove around and assessed the damage in various Gwinnett neighborhoods on Monday night. “We wanted to determine in what capacity we could provide help to the storm victims. Scout Master, Lucas Harsh, and I contacted our scouts and twenty-two boys were quick to say ‘yes’ and answer the call,” said Spake.
On Tuesday, the scouts set their sights on the Flowers Crossing subdivision in Lawrenceville. Jeff Anderson, a resident in the neighborhood, was very appreciative of the unexpected assistance. “My girlfriend and I saw an army of scouts walking into my front yard. They helped me remove a large tree that had fallen in the yard. I had tried calling several tree removal service companies. However, they were all prioritizing their calls and dispatching crews to remove trees off of homes and out of roadways. The scout’s help was so appreciated and they were amazing!”
Boy Scout, Ben Nichols, age fourteen-years-old, said, “We helped a lady get out of her house. A tree had fallen in front of her garage and crushed her dog house. Luckily, her dog wasn’t inside it or hurt. We cleared the limbs and tree so she could get her car out of the garage.”
Quartermaster, Carter Timmons, remarked, “It was interesting to see neighbors helping neighbors. The community came out and came together to help each other.”
“Our motto is, ‘Do a good turn daily,’” said, twelve-year-old, Addison Van Soelen. “We were leading by example. Together, as a team, we realized we can get a lot done with all of the helping hands.”
Scouting is ‘boy-led,’ meaning the older teens provide leadership to the younger boys. Spake added, “McKinley Davis is the troop's most senior boy leader and he was leading and organizing the younger boys throughout the day. While the adults operated the chainsaws for most of the day, seventeen-year-old McKinley guided the younger group of boys. He's been a leader in the troop for many years. He is the boy who probably sets one of the best examples and guides the rest of them.”
As the boy scouts reflected on their recovery efforts that day, Spake’s twelve-year-old son, Trevor, remarked, “A scout is helpful and it was important to step up and help our community.”
Boy Scout Troop #506 has fifty active members and ten adult scout leaders.