Scouting accomplishments celebrated at Minsi Trails Court of Honor
Minsi Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America, presented Silver Beaver Awards to Michael Caffrey, Charlie Chase, Rev. Gary Marsh, and seven others at the Council Recognition Dinner Jan. 27 at the East Hills Moravian Church in Bethlehem The Silver Beaver is a distinguished service award for registered adult “Scouters” who have made a positive impact on the next generation through their years of service. Presenting the medals were Dr. Arnold Traupman and Glenn Higbie.
As den leader and cubmaster for Pack 352, and scoutmaster for Troop 352, Michael Caffrey has been a Scouter for 20 years. Still serving as assistant scoutmaster and Eagle Scout mentor for Troop 352, Caffrey also serves on the council’s executive board and was previously honored with a District Award of Merit for South Mountain District. A member of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Roman Catholic Church, he actively volunteers for choir, bingo, adult retreat, soup kitchen and coaches youth sports. A Bethlehem resident, Michael Caffrey and his wife Jean have two sons, Michael and David, both Eagle Scouts.
Charlie Chase has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for a total of 70 years, starting in Amherst, Maine, as a member of Cub Pack 503 and Troop 503. He earned a Scoutmasters Key as a Scouter with Troop 292 in New Hampshire. A professional Scouter for 23 years, Chase spent 10 years as director of support services for Minsi Trails until retirement. Afterward, he served as registrar and Eagle Scout facilitator. He has been active with Kiwanis since 1994. Chase and his wife Jane live in Bethlehem. He has a daughter, Terry, and his son Christopher (now deceased) was an Eagle Scout.
Rev. Gary Marsh of Bethlehem, became active in scouting with Pack 362, then Troop 36 which were sponsored by East Hills Moravian Church, where he later served as pastor. Currently a unit commissioner, Chase had served on the executive board of Minsi Trail Council, and as district chair of South Mountain District. In 2010, he was honored with a District Committee Key. Now retired, Marsh is a Moravian Academy trustee and serves as a volunteer assisting the homeless. Residents of Bethlehem, Marsh and his wife Linda have a son, Kyle, and a daughter, Sarah.
A teacher with the Bethlehem Area School District, Jim Korcienski Sr. is an Eagle Scout who later earned his Wood Badge beads. He currently is an adviser for Crew 1928, for Settlers Camp, earning a Crew Leader’s Key and the Venturing Leader’s Training Award. Involved with Saylorsburg Troop 84 since 2007, Korcienski had served as committee chair. He is a recipient of the Founder’s Award for outstanding service to the Order of the Arrow, Witauchsoman Service Award and Outstanding Arrowman Award. Korcienski also held the post of Settlers Camp director at Trexler Scout Reservation. Jim Korcienski, Sr. and his wife, Michelle, live in Saylorsburg. They have two daughters, Janelle and Justine, and a son, James, Jr. who is an Eagle Scout.
Scott Best of Coplay, Bill Coles of Emmaus, Jim Klunk of Kutztown, Dawn Phillips of Effort, Francis Oquendo of East Stroudsburg, and William Schwab of Lehighton, were also honored with Silver Beaver medals.
Outstanding Eagle Scout awards were presented by council advancement chair Platte Moring and Gerald Sill, who had previously received the honor, to Donald W. Snyder of Orefield, former president of Lehigh-Carbon Community College, who previously served in the Pa. State House of Representatives, and to Dr. Ronald T. Hersh Jr., a Bethlehem DMD prosthodontist. As Eagle Scouts, they were recognized by the National Eagle Scout Association committee for their outstanding lifetime achievements at the local, state and regional levels.
Retired Bethlehem Steel executive Edward C. Cool was bestowed with the Alumnus of the Year Award by Dr. Arnold Traupman. According to the Scouting Alumni Association, the award was established to recognize alumni of the Boy Scouts of America “who have used the skills and values they learned through their association with Scouting to make significant and long-lasting contributions to our nation through their careers, avocations, and Scouting.”
Medals of Merit were presented to five deserving candidates by Platte Moring and Rev. George Spieker for “demonstrating an act of service of a rare or exceptional character reflecting an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others.”
Robin Ruch, assistant district commissioner for North Valley District (Whitehall area), was honored for his quick action in July 2016, when he assisted his coworker and neighbor Stephen Meyer, who had severely cut himself on the left forearm while working with a radial arm saw. Ruch controlled the bleeding by raising the victim’s arm and binding the wound with padding and roller gauze. He also kept the victim conscious and alert while awaiting help. His coworker is still recovering from the injury.
Star Scout Malachi Yost of Troop 242 was with his mother and grandfather grocery shopping when she suffered a seizure. Yost helped her to the floor and called out for someone to call 911. The youth calmly laid his mother on her side to prevent choking, using the skills he had learned while earning his first aid merit badge. Soon an ambulance arrived and rushed Yost’s mother to the hospital.
Second Class Scout Tyler Mann and his father, unit commissioner Bradley Mann, Troop 99, Pocono District, and Life Scout Morgan C. Cowen of Troop 140, Allentown were honored as well.
For information about Minsi Trails Council, BSA: minsitrails.com.