Skip to comments.High-profile role for Scouts at Ford funeral
Posted on 12/28/2006 8:23:50 PM PST by fgoodwin
High-profile role for Scouts at Ford funeral
Updated: Dec 27, 2006 07:36 PM CST
By ANNE SCHIEBER
WALKER -- One group that will be paying special tribute to former President Gerald R. Ford is the Boy Scouts.
Ford was a tireless promoter of the Boy Scouts because he was one; and a top one. He has been the only President to earn the Scouts' highest honor of Eagle Scout.
Ford's family has asked that West Michigan Boy Scouts have a prominent role in the funeral in Grand Rapids. Thousands are expected to line the streets of the motorcade along Fulton Street. Eagle Scouts will be saluting the motorcade along Pearl Street, right before the Ford Museum where Ford will be laid to rest.
President Ford has left an indelible mark on Scouts in West Michigan and around the country.
"People knew he had a lot of honor and that Eagle Scout just added to that piece of honor," says Blair Laackman, author of Gerald R. Ford's Scouting Years.
President Ford never forgot his roots as a Boy Scout. It was one of the first things he mentioned at a Grand Rapids celebration of his 90th birthday.
"I was sitting there waiting to make a comment or two and I wondered what I was doing 78 years ago. I'll tell you what I was doing. I was a young Boy Scout in Grand Rapids," said the former President.
Ford became an Eagle Scout at age 16. Few Boy Scouts make the rank. It requires self-initiative and commitment to earning merits and ranks.
"If you can't make it by 18, and you're too busy doing sports or something, that's it, you'll never get the chance again," says Laackman.
Ford made the rank and later became a championship football player at the University of Michigan.
Laackman wrote a short book about Ford's scouting years. The Ford family was so enthusiastic about the project that Ford's brother loaned Laackman the family scrapbook before it became public.
The book came out in 1982 when the Ford Museum opened. It is now distributed at fundraisers and often as gifts from West Michigan family members to loved ones here and elsewhere.
Ford was such an honored member among the Boy Scouts that he was the only living member to have an entire council named after him. Council 266 in West Michigan is now the Gerald R. Ford Council.
The West Michigan Headquarters on Walker Avenue was rededicated with Ford's name in 1997. Scout Program Director Matt Adams was there because Ford sent him a letter when he became an Eagle Scout.
"The letter said, 'P.S. Be good to scouting as an adult because it's been good to you as a youth.' And when he came here, I showed that letter to him. I'm now working for the Scouts and I told him I tried to follow what he said," says Adams.
This would be a much better Country if all our politicians tried to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.
The Scouts assisting at the funeral is one sure way to keep the Liberals away. What a great idea! And a greater tribute to Mr Ford.