Troop 14 began its existence in 1939. By the late 1950s,
however, the Troop failed to re-new its Charter with the BSA. Essentially,
Troop 14 was "out of business" for one year. By now, it would have been a
distant memory but for the
of Malcolm "Smokey" Elmer onto the scene.
Smokey had two young sons, Terry and Ron, and knowing the
value of scouting, he along with his friend, Humphrey Roberts, succeeded in
re-chartering the Troop. Smokey remained a driving force for decades and
only recently retreated from his commitment to Troop 14 due to the
infirmities of advanced years. Though in failing health, Smokey's interest
in scouting never waned.
Smokey taught hundreds of scouts valuable lessons. He was
also a true "character". He employed countless folksy expressions ("He could
talk a dog off a meat wagon") to make his points.
Many of us will never forget colorful stories from his youth,
like the time he and his older brother disassembled a manure wagon, secreted
it into their high school and reassembled it. Oh, by the way, Smokey's Dad
taught at his school! Eventually, he asked is son, "I know you guys did it,
We will also never forget the stories he told, often around a
nighttime campfire, about his service in Europe during World War 2.
Through Smokey, we learned the importance of sacrifice
in the pursuit of ideals bigger than any one person.
Smokey loved camping. In particular, he enjoyed the
Adirondacks and sharing part of his summers with the Troop at Cedarlands.
He also make two trips to Philmont, the national scout camp
in New Mexico. He last trekked to Philmont in 1983. At age 60, he handled
the demands of mountain camping and hiking as well as a man twenty years
In many ways, Smokey fit the mold of a "John Wayne"
character. He was a clear thinking, direct and decisive person. A scout
would not have any doubts if Smokey was "correcting" him, as he could be
verbally forceful (though never abusive).
Later, these corrections came to be known, rather fondly, as
"Elmerizations". His scouts, including the present Scoutmaster, were all "Elmerized".
We are all the better for it.
Smokey died at the age of 81 on May 30, 2004, the day before
Memorial Day. In light of his service, it was fitting that he passed away
during that very special weekend.
recognition of his dedication to the Troop and the community, on October
16th we planted a tall, sturdy sugar maple tree in Chadwicks Town Park.
Through this tree, Smokey's memory will endure. It is indeed a fitting
tribute to our leader, mentor, and friend.