Troop 64 Boy Scouts of America was chartered to the EUB Methodist congregation in the Borough of Duncannon March of 1927. The chartering Scoutmaster was Samuel Mader; Mr. Mader was interested in starting a Drum and Bugle Corps in the Borough. After a few months the leadership of this group lost interest in scouting mostly because the program was much more than a Drum and Bugle corps. Fortunately, the boys were interested in Scouting. Predominantly made up of boys from the EUB Sunday School the Scouts of Duncannon were not going to allow this adventure to slip by. This group of boys devised a plan. The Scouts asked their Sunday school teacher to take the job and become the Scoutmaster. He explained to them he was not interested and since he didn’t know anything about Scouting he couldn’t take the job.
The boys thought all hope was lost until they like many good scouts went into action. This group of boys developed a plan and implemented said plan in the following manner. Each evening for a week two different scouts showed up on the porch of the Sunday school teacher’s house and knocked on the door. Each evening they asked the man to be their Scoutmaster. Finally the Sunday school teacher agreed to take the job temporarily until they could secure a permanent leader.
From 1927 until 1969 this Sunday school teacher held the title of “temporary” Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 64 of Duncannon. Mr. William Lynn Dromgold known to many simply as Drummy was that man. Drummy stepped up to the challenge and led many boys through scouting in Duncannon and the surrounding area. Drummy will always be remembered for his quick step and active lifestyle as the Scoutmaster for Duncannon.
Drummy as the Scoutmaster was required to pass all of the tests to become a First Class Scout. These tests were administered to Drummy by the Harrisburg Council’s Chief Scout Executive “Chief Sparrow” as Drummy referred to him. Drummy led the Scouts through the first of many tests in First Aid, because he felt if the boys were going to go camping and be in the field they should all be prepared for first aid emergencies.
W.L.Dromgold was a great Scouter, not only did he serve his community through scouting but he contributed over 20 years on Borough Council, helped start the Cub Pack, a charter member of Duncannon Ambulance Club, active in his church his entire life, and an avid gardener. Drummy was awarded the Harrisburg Council Silver Beaver December 13, 1945.
Drummy awarded the Troops first Eagle Scout awards in 1932. The recipients were Harry Boyer, Horace Hoffman, and Edgar Smith. The three represented the troop in Washington DC as part of the honor guard for the inauguration of President Franklin D Roosevelt. Each Scout purchased a new uniform for the event and in during the days of the Great depression, this alone was a great challenge to overcome.
The Scouts of Duncannon produced wonderful contributions to society, Doctors, News Paper Editors, Columnists, Historians, and much more.
1969 saw the passing of an era, Drummy stepped down as Scoutmaster and Robert Brinton took the reigns. Drummy worked a deal with Bob that included him covering Bob’s postal route during Summer camp week. Drummy was now a part time post office employee so the Scout program in Duncannon could continue to grow.
Mr. Brinton is best remembered for his First Aid and Emergency preparedness classes. Bob also thought first aid important and contributed to the troop by making first aid a number one priority. There was no slackers in Mr. Brintons fist aid classes because he stressed the boys should be proficient at first aid in case he was the patient. Many of us remember being hoisted in the tree in Bob’s back yard with the bowline on a bite and chest hitch. When you finished the MB class Bob’s wife Betty would provide a snack and a lasting memory was created.
Bob served as Scoutmaster into 1977 when Barry P. Sheaffer stepped in and took the leadership role for Troop 64. “Sheaff” as the scoutmaster and along with the advancement chairman Charles Hoffman Sr. The troop experienced a strong growth in membership and activities. Barry Sheaffer was an adventurous Scoutmaster. The Scouts were definitely in charge and Sheaff was along for the ride. During Sheaffs first tenure as Scoutmaster many Eagles were earned, many adventurous trips were experienced, and a lot of fun was had by all. Camping, white water rafting, traveling on a troop bus, and community service topped the charts.
In 1985 Barry stepped down for Richard “Dick” Messner to become Scoutmaster. Dick served as Scoutmaster for two years and could not continue. Barry Sheaffer stepped in again and the troop continued until 1989 when Duane Hammaker took the role of Scoutmaster. Barry Sheaffer recommended Duane for the Job at a Troop Committee meeting and there was some concern by the committee. Duane was 22 years old and he would be by far the youngest Scoutmaster in Duncannon. Barry had the confidence and Drummy still active on the committee as the Secretary lended his support and the committee approved Duane as the scoutmaster. Duane solicited the assistance of Chuck Reed as an assistant Scoutmaster and advancement Chairman. The Troop prospered under their team effort. Membership climbed and resources were obtained through many channels. The Scouts in this Troop had a good time and the motivation provided by Chuck Reed sparked a growth in Eagle awards unprecedented in Troop history. The combination of great Scouts and skilled motivation became the foundation for where the Troop is today. Many of these Scouts have returned to Scouting as Adult leaders and are now giving back.
Duane Hammaker stepped down in 1998 and passed the troop to Thom Hammaker. Presently Thom is serving as Scoutmaster and with his right hand Kevin Gray as advancement chairman the troop is experiencing more growth and great retention. Troop 64 stands alone as a great scouting unit and is on the verge of celebrating 80 continuous years of service to youth. Still chartered by the same church Duncannon holds the record for oldest continuous unit in the District.
Some of the troop highlights over the years include the original trek of scouts hiking to the top of Peters Mountain and erecting an American flag from a standard lashed to a tree top. This went on from the 1940’s under the leadership of Drummy until 1985 when Christopher Messner erected a permanent pole for an Eagle Scout Service Project. After two rebuilds the National park service requested the pole be removed for liability reasons.
In 2004 the troop undertook a great project with the help of a local farmer Mr. Glenn Mitchell who wanted to see the flag flying again and they erected an 80 foot tall pole on the bluff above the Juniata River at the Route 322 and 11&15 interchange. This flag is a permanent troop project and is well supported by the community. The American Legion post 340 not only contributes to the maintenance but also pays the electric bill for the flood lights which illuminate the Grand 30 X 40 foot American Flag. Other annual supporters of the flag from the community include the Duncannon Sportsman Club, The Duncannon Lions Club, and our local Grange organization. Business sponsors include Maguire’s Ford of Duncannon, Aycock Inc., and The Duncannon Borough.
Troop 64 also started recycling for the War effort in the 1940’s and the recycling program is better than ever today. The scout troop’s commitment to the environment is strong and growing as they maintain a curbside voluntary recycling program in conjunction with the Duncannon Borough. This program sees through volunteer help the appropriate recycling of approximately 100 tons of material per year. The Scouts participate in the Perry County recycling program once a month and assist the borough in reducing the amount of waste hauled to landfills.
Boy Scout Troop 64 is active in the community always participating in community events such as parades and gatherings. Troop 64 to the best of my knowledge has not missed a Veterans Day or Memorial Day parade in over Thirty years. Always with a large turn out and always looking dapper in their Red berets and Scout uniforms parades are important to this troop. The community supports this Scout Troop because it stands for good things and the citizens see the results. Many former Scouts of this Troop continue to serve the community as EMS personnel, Firefighters, civic and church leaders, and professional contributors to the good of society.
If you take a few minutes and visit the Troop Eagle Scout directory you will get an idea of the magnitude of community service provided by this Scout Troop. Take a look at the Eagle Scout projects over the years and try to imagine the amount of volunteer hours that go into projects of this scope. I believe you will see Duncannon Boy Scout Troop 64 is something very special. I also believe the foundation of scouting established so many years ago in Duncannon has made this possible.
Boy Scout Troop 64 was proud to have another outstanding member of the community involved with them through the years. Richard “Dick” Swank a longtime editor of the Duncannon Record was associated with the troop through the 1950’s and 1960’s. Mr. Swank always an avid supporter of Scouting and great influence through MB counseling and leadership to the Scouts of Troop 64.
Troop 64 has had two leaders awarded the Silver Beaver Award in its tenure. Many troops exist without ever attaining one leader having received this honor. Both W. L. Dromgold and Barry P. Sheaffer are Silver Beavers.
Many Scouts from Duncannon have earned religious awards and are as all good Scouts should be active in their Church. The troop diversity is shown through the various religious awards received by the scouts.
In 1981 three scouts from Duncannon ventured to Fort A P Hill Virginia to attend the National Scout Jamboree. The Scoutmaster representing the Keystone Area Council Troop that year was none other than Duncannon’s own Barry P Sheaffer. The Scouts from Duncannon were Scott Sheaffer, Gregory Strayer, and Fred Matter. All three of which you will find in the Eagle Honor Role of Troop 64.
I would like to mention a few leaders for scouting that often go un recognized. These men were great inspirations to many Scouts through their dedication and hard work for the troop. Herbert Maguire: Merit Badge counselor serving many years as a hiking and citizenship counselor, Charles Hoffman Sr. Advancement Chairman, Doug Stine Committee Member, Russell “Butch” Hammaker Assistant Scoutmaster, Kevin Gray Advancement Chairman, Chuck Reed Advancement Chairman and “the best Orienteering MB counselor ever”, James O Dersham Jr. Assistant Scoutmaster, John Raudensky Sr. Quartermaster, James Gelbach Treasurer, and our oldest Scouter with almost 80 years of active service Calvin Cromleigh who has served as Advancement Chairman, Assistant Scoutmaster, and Committee Member.
Duncannon Boy Scouts hold solid the fundamentals of Scouting while moving forward into the future and embracing new technologies and adventures. Our mission as leaders is very simple and has been around a long time. We strive to provide boys the opportunity to become good men. The Scouting program was designed to do this and if we stand back and observe the outcome when Scouting is presented properly it does just that. Duncannon Troop 64 is thriving proof of the success of the Scouting program.
Many Scouts have been afforded opportunities that other boys have not enjoyed. Scouts are a wealth of information and the great part about the information is what scouts learn as boys are extremely beneficial to them as men. For example the board of review process will give the man who has been through one as a boy an edge during a job interview. Many scouts excel at public speaking because they have learned to do it as a scout. Many merit badges are an introduction to career opportunities; by exposing a young man to the vast array of topics through the merit badge list we may be introducing them to their future career. The other merit badges are important things every man should know such as First Aid, Emergency Preparedness, Pioneering, and Orienteering. To possess these skills will do no person harm, and improve the society in which we live.
While throughout the country Scouting is under attack by various groups who obviously cannot understand the importance of such a program, Scouting in Duncannon is thriving and will continue to do so. The Scout Oath and Law is a code of honor by which the Scouts in Duncannon do their best to live by.