February 19, 2013
The Boy Scout slogan of do a good turn daily is something ingrained into the heart of every Scout from the very start of his journey. The slogan sets kindness and willingness to go above and beyond to help those in need as the foundation for the rest of Scouting. Despite this important mission of lending a hand to those without a voice, the Scouting experience has been denied to those who are openly homosexual.
The time spent in meetings, around campfires, overcoming hardships and helping each other along the Scouting path is what creates the valued qualities scouting instills. It is not merely the memorizing of mottos, oaths and slogans that develops the boys who enter Scouting into the young men who leave it, but through the common experiences they share with each other along the way. The current policy of exclusion not only hurts the boys excluded, but also limits those in Scouting. By limiting who can join, this policy stifles chances for a Scout to learn about someone different than him, to engage someone in a discussion that can change ideas from an unknowing fear into a friendship.
The Boy Scouts of America, in opening a discussion to change the current policy excluding homosexual Scouts and leaders, is taking a step towards expounding on its fundamental principles and molding responsible and active leaders in the community. This is a discussion I hope ends with the inclusion of more young men who can use the values instilled by the Boy Scout experience to grow to become dependable and dedicated leaders in their communities.
What ever happened to Luzerne county's number one veteran advocate?
A few months ago I was sitting at my local VFW complaining about all the crap I was going through trying to get my VA compensation claim completed. As a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, I couldn't believe what I was going through; the paperwork, red tape and the misinformation. A buddy of mine suggested I call Rick Wren, former director of Luzerne County Veterans Affairs. He said if anyone could help me, Wren could. He also said Wren helped him with his claim.
I called Mr. Wren on a Sunday and first apologized for bothering him and told him what I was going through. He graciously told me he would help me any way could.
Over the next two hours he took me through the whole VA process. He explained how the system works and what I needed to do. Here is a man who took the time to put me on the right track and received nothing but my thanks.
The wealth of knowledge he demonstrated astounded me and he was able to explain it all into words I could understand.
Yesterday I received a letter from the VA and it appears I will finally be getting my award. I called him and thanked him again and he said to me no thanks were needed. He said it was the least he could do for the sacrifices I endured for him, his family and the country. I had to write this letter to let the veteran community know that Rick Wren is alive and well and still taking care of veterans.
Mr. Wren, thank you and God bless you and your family. I could not have gotten my award without you.
John Dougherty Hazleton Stewart Long Mountain Top