When I arrived at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church on the first Monday night in 1969 to become the new Scoutmaster for Troop 26, Bill Kirwin was one of the young men present that night. He became an Eagle Scout and was also my Senior Patrol Leader in 1970. This is a photo of Bill in 1972 when he became the Lodge Chief of the Ta Tsu Hwa Lodge of the Order of the Arrow.
This is a photo from 1955. Fifty-nine years ago. The scout in the middle, the one holding the patrol flag, is Gailard Sartain. A member of Troop 26, Gailard Sartain went on to graduate from Rogers High School and the University of Tulsa. He became a Tulsa celebrity in local television when he appeared as Dr. Mazeppa Pompazoidi in 1970-73 on the “Uncanny Film Festival and Camp Meeting.” He dressed in a long robe with moons and stars on it and had a long pointy wizard’s hat. Actor Gary Busey got his start on the Mazeppa show, playing a character called Teddy Jack Eddy. Gailard joined the comedy team of the Sonny and Cher show and then went on to be a member of the cast of Hee Haw. Gailard worked with some of Hollywood’s best in films like The Outsiders, Elizabethtown, Earnest Goes to Jail, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Mississippi Burning. He has worked with Gary Busey, Orlando Bloom, Kathy Bates, Gene Hackman, Tom Cruise, Jessica Tandy, Ted Danson, Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze. This photo is is of a young scout who followed his dream to be in the movies. He was in Troop 26 back when I was first joining. He was quite a character.
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This was a high point in Troop 26 history. Our Special Camporee made the cover of the National BSA leaders magazine, “Scouting”, and was sent to Scout leaders all across the country. One of our best scouts, Tommy Steele, was featured on the cover. The issue was dated May -June 1983. A lot of national response came as a result of this cover photo because of the Post 26 hat that Tommy was wearing. Lots of old scouters across the nation confused the patch on the hat with the Exploring Silver Award. It looks similar and was certainly based on the Silver Award, but was different and larger. We got a lot of great responses too. National attention for a great program. Tommy , now Tom, is one of our current Assistant Scoutmasters and Tom’s son is on his way to Eagle.
Click here to view the article about the Troop 26 Special Camporee from the 1983 issue of Scouting Magazine.
We have always encouraged our scouts to think of something that might make our troop better. This photo is of the beginning of one such innovative idea. Eagle Scout Don Zvacek wanted to add something to make our campfires better. His idea was to use the Native American custom of the “talking stick” in our campfire planning. The Native Americans would tell stories around their campfires. The person holding the stick was the speaker. Everyone else had to respectfully listen to the story he was telling. When he was done, he would pass the stick to another person and that person became the speaker. We purchased the stick from Lyons Indian Store in downtown Tulsa and the idea became a reality on a Thanksgiving campout over ten years ago. We were having our campfire in the dining hall at Garland and there were lots of parents there as well. Don Zvacek appeared in the full regalia of an Indian Chief. This photo is of Don presenting the stick to me for the very first time. The rules were that the storyteller had to tell a story that was over five years old. This would be a unique way of passing down troop history. The speaker would select the next person to tell a story and pass the stick to him. As an adult, I was directed to pas the stick to a youth member. On the next campout, the youth member would tell a story and then pass the stick to an Adult leader. Back and forth for over ten years at almost every campout, from adult to youth and back to adult. Thanks Don Zvacek for an amazing legacy. It is called “the Zvastick”.
This photo was taken at the FDR Memorial in Washington after the 2001 National Jamboree. There were 42,002 participants at the Jambo at Fort A.P,Hill, Virginia. TheMemorial was one of the places we stopped to visit on the return home. Seven Troop 26 Scouts, three older and four younger, posed in front of one of the waterfalls inside the memorial. The three older scouts are all Eagles. The four younger scouts all became Eagles. Back row, left to right: Eagle Scouts Miitch Weigt, Levi Vivion, and Todd Wagner. Front row: soon to be Eagle Scouts Robert Dennis, Reid Spears, Daniel Rusco, and Conner Wann.
“Being an Eagle Scout” has reached epic proportions in Troop 26. I’m not exactly sure how many Eagle Scout Medals have been awarded by Troop 26 over the years but it is somewhere over 650. The first was awarded over 50 years ago. This is an early photo of Troop 26’s first Eagle Scout, Walmer Frank. He is the scout on the left. He was the son of Pastor Walmer Frank of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. He was an older scout in the troop when I became a member in 1956. This photo was taken in 1955, about a year before I joined the troop. I remember Walmer as a great leader and an older boy that we all looked up to. Also in the picture are the old camper tents the troop used to use all those years ago.
This is a photo of the arena show at the 2005 National Jamboree. The jamboree was held at Ft. A.P. Hill, Virginia. There were 31,700 youth participants, including these three Troop 26 scouts, Evan Hartung, William Eli, and Robert Rusco. They are all grown up now and the jamboree is one of their memories of their childhood. The 2005 National Jamboree was also the site of the infamous “death march”, the scouts and leaders marching to the arena show in extreme heat.