By Richard Mabey Jr.
Author’s Note: My dad and the late Reverend Fred Herwaldt, of the First Reformed Church of Lincoln Park, worked together as a team, to provide a wholesome, educational, quality year-long program for Boy Scouts to earn the God and Country Award.
Most people think that when my dad stepped down from his 28-year service as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170 in 1994, that he had totally retired from volunteer service in scouting. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Dad was 66 years old when he retired as Scoutmaster of good old Troop 170. He had already had a heart attack. It was becoming more and more difficult for him to put a full pack on his back and lead the boys on a hike on the Appalachian Trail. It became more and more difficult for him to camp out.
But my father wasn’t about to give up on his ministry to serve others. My dad firmly believed that it was better to shape a boy to become a moral gentleman than to rehabilitate a wayward man. And thus, in 1994 my dad began serving as an Advisor for the Boy Scouts of America’s Protestant religious award, God and Country, through the First Reformed Church of Lincoln Park. Dad worked closely with the late Reverend Fred Herwaldt, in leading the year-long classes in order for the scouts to earn the God and Country Award.
Dad served as an Advisor for the God and Country Award from 1994 till 2000. During this time, Dad touched the hearts and minds of many boys, guiding them to follow the golden light of truth, to follow a moral compass, and to love the Lord. The God and Country Award is a combination of scholastic study of the Holy Bible interweaved with very practical ways for a boy to apply the teachings of the Bible to serve his family, church, and community.
I often reflect on how many boys’ lives my father touched through his 36-year service as a volunteer Scout Leader. For Dad had served two years as Committeeman in Troop 170, from 1964 to 1966. He served 28 years as Scoutmaster of Troop 170, from 1966 to 1994. And, Dad served six years as an Advisor for the God and Country Award.
At the end of the year-long classes, Dad and Reverend Herwarldt would lead the boys on a day-long hike on the Appalachian Trail, starting at High Point, New Jersey and ending in eastern Pennsylvania. I had the high honor to also lead the scouts on this adventurous hike, each year.
One of the highlights, of this annual sojourn, was that we would all stop along the trail and cook lunch. After lunch, Dad and Reverend Herwaldt would lead the scouts in an informal church service beneath the oaks, the maples, and the evergreens. The boys would sit on logs and rocks, just a few yards off from the trail. It was such always such a meaningful and heart-moving little time.
Both, Dad and Reverend Herwaldt, have since passed away. I miss them both, all so very much. Few people know of the many hours that these two gentlemen put into having a very successful God and Country Award program. For all their selfless hard work, I am so very grateful. For truly, they touched the lives of so very many boys.
Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put on the subject line: My Life Publications.