Troop 109 celebrates groundbreaking
by Sherrie Norris
"We've been looking forward to this for 75 years," said scoutmaster Arvil Sale, saying that 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the troop that has met weekly for years at Boone United Methodist Church.
Serving Boone since 1938, Troop 109 is chartered by Boone United Methodist Church and is a member of the Blue Ridge district of the Old Hickory Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
"The church has been so good to us," said Tom Fisher, troop committee chairman."And Arvil has led Troop 109 for more than 40 years, since coming to Boone as a student."
The two-level log building will be built on BUMC property with its main level providing a large open space for scout meetings and activities, an office and restrooms. The lower level will offer room for troop equipment, supplies and trailer storage.
With about $40,000 already raised toward a goal of $100,000 needed to complete the construction, Fisher said the troop has received "a lot of in-kind donations that have proved extremely beneficial," including plans drawn and donated by local architect Randy Jones.
Sale said that the town of Boone has also been very helpful and granted the building permit in June.
"We began planning for the building before the church moved to its current location," Sale said.
"Seven years ago, we began raising money by commissioning Richard Tumbleston to do a print for us, called 'Raven Knob,' copies of which we have sold to help fund this endeavor."
The troop continues to accept donations for the building, he said.
Troop 109 is composed of more than 50 members, Sales said, with an average of 40 in attendance for weekly meetings at the church.
More than 200 scouts in the troop have obtained the Eagle rank, scouting's highest honor.
Sale said the troop, which focuses on leadership and citizenship, has been a vital part of the community through numerous projects, including the adopt-a-street program, the measurement markings along the Greenway Trail, the food ministry space at Living Waters Christian Fellowship, reopening of a trail around Price Lake following ice storms in 2009 and 2010, building of a Green Valley Community Park staircase between its picnic shelter and ball field and adding fence to the Old Boone City Cemetery.
Troop 109 has also hosted multiple food, clothing, toy and blood drives for eagle projects.
"For years, we've needed a permanent meeting place, as well as storage for the equipment required to operate an active and vibrant scouting program," Sale said.
The Troop 109 Scouting Center will better enable the troop to serve the Watauga County area and neighboring communities in Ashe and Wilkes counties, Sale said.
"It's a dream come true," he said.
COURT OF HONOR
On Tuesday after the groundbreaking ceremonies, Troop 109 also held a court of honor for awards earned this summer and for two Eagle Scout presentations. Troop 109 is sponsored by the Boone United Methodist Church and meets in the church's family life center from 7 to 8:30 p.m. each Tuesday, August through May. For more information about the troop or the project, visit http://www.bsat109.org. Tax deductible donations to help make this new scout center a reality may be made to Friends of Troop 109, attn.: Bennie Anderson, c/o Great State Bank, 189 Boone Heights Dr., Boone, NC 28607.