Scoutmaster gives all boys equal shots
By BILLIE SMITH
Published July 1, 2005
It's good to get an opportunity to see people who go above and beyond.
I had a rewarding lunch on May 27 with folks supporting Boy Scouts in the Brandon area. A group of about 50 gathered at Center Place to raise money for local troops and recognize this year's winner of the Youth Services Award, which honors an individual who has made a long-term commitment to supporting the youth in our area.
Clif Curry, a local lawyer and staunch supporter of Boy Scouts, introduced John Brengle Jr. as this year's winner of the Youth Services Award. A list of Brengle's accomplishments was read along with the fact that he has been an adult Scout since 1947, starting in Troop 4, now Tampa's oldest.
Now in his 42nd year as a scoutmaster, Brengle serves with Troop 399, where he has been for 26 years. Troop 399 here in Brandon is not just another troop of young boys and men interested in Scouting. Add the fact that they are mentally and physically challenged and you are gazing upon a group of boys who need men like Brengle.
Brengle has dedicated himself to giving these individuals the best Scouting experience possible, while recognizing their limitations. While some may build excuses on why these boys can't camp or engage in traditional Scouting exercises, Brengle overcomes those obstacles so he and his boys can get to the business of Scouting.
He gave us a harsh but real example of what it is like to work with these boys and young men. At one point, he recalled when the troop welcomed two new Scouts, both with spina bifida.
When they went on an outing, he and another Scoutmaster each took one of the boys to aid them with their personal hygiene while making sure they were getting the most out of Scouting. What many of us would see as an inconvenience, John Brengle sees as nothing more than just another shoe to lace or another campfire to build.
He says he can "see human beings in these men."
Last year's recipient of the award, Steve Saunders, who has been a scoutmaster for 33 years, says his good deeds "pale in comparison" to the accomplishments of John Brengle.
John Brengle's rewards come through his dedication to Scouting, not from any award on a mantle. Several times during his brief comments to the group, he asked, "How can you give an award to someone for having fun?"
Those that give so unselfishly of themselves do not measure their accomplishments by what they see in others, and cannot clearly understand what "all the hubbub" is about.
After meeting John Brengle I doubt anyone in the room was seriously surprised that we accomplished the second goal of the day by exceeding the Scouts' $15,000 fundraising goal.
Billie Smith is the general manager of Brandon Times. Reach her at 661-2438 or firstname.lastname@example.org
[Last modified June 30, 2005, 09:09:07]
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