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Scouts played large part in Fossum's life
Monitor ^ | July 12, 2006 | Marc B. Geller

Posted on 07/12/2006 2:15:21 PM PDT by fgoodwin

Scouts played large part in Fossum's life

July 12, 2006
Marc B. Geller
Monitor Staff Writer

McALLEN — One of the biggest influences in Mike Fossum’s life growing up in the Rio Grande Valley was his experience in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

Beverly Alleyn, who like Fossum’s mother is a nurse, was his Cub Scout pack leader. And her husband, Mickey, led the Webelos program that Mike needed to complete with other Cub Scouts to transition into Boy Scouts.

The Alleyns’ son, Rob, now a McAllen physician, was one of Mike’s classmates and rose with Mike through the Boy Scout ranks.

"Shortly after (Mike) went into Scouting, he visited with me, and he’d just come off of a camping trip which I guess he felt that he wasn’t too successful in," Mickey recalled.

"I remember him coming over and talking to me and asking the question if he ought to stay in Scouting or not. And I told him … he ought to try to stay in there and run the course."

Mike stayed with it, eventually achieving the elite Eagle Scout rank — and forging close bonds with several fellow Scouts, including longtime buddies Tom Ball, Grady Carlile and Charlie Ward.

"Watching him in Scouting, he always took his merit badge work very seriously and his campouts very seriously," Mickey recalled. "He was pretty sure of himself. Whatever he wanted to do, he seemed to be able to end up doing it — and doing it well."

Around the age of 10, Rob remembers Mike talking about his aspirations of going into space.

"He’s wanted to do that since about the fifth grade, as far as I can remember," he said. "That’s about the time of the Apollo missions and the landing on the moon and all of that. …

"We talked about that a lot when we were kids," Rob said. "Everybody was talking about what they wanted to do. He always was going to be an astronaut."

Ball remembers his friend as a goal-oriented leader.

"He was a really fine leader in the Boy Scout troop. The kids all liked him a lot. He was very popular ...

"We both liked to camp. He’d go fishing with my family, and we’d go on trips together — outings outside of the Scouting context, too — and we’ve done that since we grew up. Every couple of years we’ll go out on a backpacking trip somewhere and beat ourselves up real bad."

Though not active in high school sports, Mike and Ball were in marching band together, both playing trombone.

"None of us were much into the organized team sports," Ball said. "We did a lot of outdoors stuff. There wasn’t much time for football or basketball. We were canoeing and going on outings."

"He’s always had a great interest in astronomy," Ball said. "We knew that from way back when we were out at camp. He was up in the middle of the night watching the stars that didn’t rise until the wee hours of the morning."

Ward also remembers their friend teaching astronomy to other Scouts at Camp Perry, in Cameron County on the banks of Arroyo Colorado.

"He’s always been looking up at the stars," he said.


Marc B. Geller covers McAllen, Hidalgo and general assignments for The Monitor. You can reach him at (956) 683-4445.

TOPICS: Astronomy; Education; Hobbies; Outdoors; Science
KEYWORDS: apollo; astronauts; boyscouts; bsa; cubscouts; eaglescout; moon; nasa; scouting; space; spaceflight; spaceshuttle; stars; webelos

1 posted on 07/12/2006 2:15:28 PM PDT by fgoodwin
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To: fgoodwin

Who's Mike Fossum and why is there an article about him here?

2 posted on 07/12/2006 2:16:46 PM PDT by madison10 (Don't care how crazy he is...Tancredo for President)
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To: madison10

He's an astronaut aboard the space shuttle. Good Scout story.

3 posted on 07/12/2006 2:20:53 PM PDT by petitfour
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To: petitfour

Okay, thanks.

4 posted on 07/12/2006 2:21:57 PM PDT by madison10 (Don't care how crazy he is...Tancredo for President)
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To: madison10

Maybe I missed something but I don't think the article mentions Fossum is on this current shuttle mission! Unreal. He has participated in the 3 spacewalks, which have been very successful. Kudos to him.

5 posted on 07/12/2006 2:29:27 PM PDT by TNCMAXQ
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To: fgoodwin

Nice article. I'll show it to my Boy Scout!

6 posted on 07/12/2006 2:34:16 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Have some hyperbolic rodomontade, and nothing worse will happen for the rest of the day!)
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I think it's a local story in a local paper. From the looks of the website, they have been covering all the spacewalks and the whole mission. Everybody who reads that paper already knows who Fossum is. Or that's what I suspect. I emailed the story to our son's den leader. Maybe I should email her and let her know who Mike Fossum is. lol

7 posted on 07/12/2006 2:35:24 PM PDT by petitfour
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Good point -- I hadn't even noticed that.

8 posted on 07/12/2006 3:05:59 PM PDT by fgoodwin
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