On June 9, 1921, the first charter for Mineola’s Boy Scout Troop 45 was issued. On Nov. 27, more than 275 people gathered at Jericho Terrace to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Troop 45’s service to the boys and families of Mineola and the surrounding communities. A large part of the crowd there that night were the present day leaders, Scouts and families that make up the Troop. They were joined by many alumni Scouts and leaders from the Troop’s past, as being a member of the Troop 45 Family is, for many, a lifetime affair.
Following a wonderful reception hour, with lots of old friends re-connecting, it was time to start the formal part of the evening. The program, which was emceed by Troop 45 Eagle Scout and current Assistant Scoutmaster Glen Peters, started with the official presentation of the boys of the Troop and presentation of the colors. The Troop, led by Senior Patrol Leader Sal Maher, was greeted with great enthusiasm by the crowd, as was a skit they did, along with several adults, of the history of Scouting in America. Then Scoutmaster Steve Grosskopf greeted the crowd and thanked the members of the 100th Anniversary Committee for their good work, and invited everyone to enjoy their dinner.
During dinner, the crowd was entertained by an extensive slide show, depicting current Troop activities, as well as a fun look back at years past. After dinner, Scoutmaster Grosskopf opened the proceedings with some words for the present Troop members and the gathered alumni. He reflected back on his 24 years as Scoutmaster, and echoed the sentiments of what Troop 45 meant to a lot of those present. Then he reached back into his history with the Troop to make the first presentation of the evening.
That presentation was made by Grosskopf of Troop 45 Eagle Scout and alumni Ricky Verriest. Verriest was the Troop’s Senior Patrol Leader in Grosskopf’s early years as Scoutmaster, and Grosskopf credited Verriest’s spirit as SPL for continuing Troop 45’s legacy of excellence during his years as SPL. The crowd gave Verriest a very well deserved “Bully!”
The evening’s key note speech was delivered by Troop 45 Eagle Scout, current Assistant Scoutmaster, and the Mayor of Mineola, Scott Strauss. Strauss, as longtime member of the Troop, the father of two Troop 45 Eagle Scouts, son of a former Troop Committee Chairman, and the husband of longtime Troop 45 Secretary Pat Strauss, well knows about the legacy aspect of the Troop. His remarks ended with a presentation that represented a true legacy in the Troop 45 family. The award, presented to Troop 45 Eagle Scout and current Assistant Scoutmaster Don Franz, thanked him for his inspiration and dedication to the Scout program and to Troop 45. Franz’s father Frank was an active member of the Troop during his Scouting years, and after, completing multiple terms as Committee Chairman. Franz’s wife Marla is the longtime treasurer of the Troop, and they are the parents of two Troop 45 Alumni, including one Eagle Scout. They have multiple grandsons who are Troop 45 alumni Scouts, as well as several who are still in uniform, with many third generation Eagles among them. Marla and Don Franz and the entire Franz Family are indicative of the good people who make up the Troop 45 Family, and the Troop was very proud to recognize their contribution!
Grosskopf and Committee Chairman Arnold Austria presented the 45 Silver Stallion award, a recognition for continued outstanding service to the troop, to Michael Desiderio.
Emcee Glen Peters had the pleasure of making the next presentation. Grosskopf has long used his own story of being the brother of an Eagle Scout, but having just barely missed out on his own path to Eagle to inspire the Scouts over the years to make sure they give their all in their desire to become Eagle Scouts. The story must have worked, because during his years as Scoutmaster, 99 Troop 45 Scouts have been added to the Eagle Scout rolls. On behalf of the Troop, and the boys he has led and inspired over the years, Peters presented Grosskopf with an honorary Eagle Scout award.
Next, Austria had some words for the Troop family, and then his own presentation to Grosskopf. As the longest tenured Scoutmaster in Troop 45’s 100 year history, Grosskopf was presented with an official Troop portrait. This will hang in a place of honor at the Troop’s meeting place at the First Presbyterian Church, along with existing portraits of former Scoutmasters John Svoboda and Frank Pewarski. Grosskopf was emotional after these presentations, and thanked the Troop family, and was greeted with a standing ovation.
When Peters ended the evening, many lingered and continued to enjoy seeing old friends and reconnecting with folks from their past. They were very proud that Troop 45 is still a place that they can all come home to, and that the Troop has continued to maintain the high standards in its Scouting program that they remembered from their youth. It was a wonderful evening for all those in Troop 45’s Family who attended, and everyone who attended left with a sense of pride of being part of such a wonderful organization. Here’s to the next 100 years.
—Submitted by Troop 45