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DeKalb Boy Scouts plan to help tornado victims

DeKALB – No disaster is too far for the Boy Scouts Troop 33 to provide aid and help.

In the past two decades, the Boy Scouts have traveled to storm-devastated areas in Mississippi, Louisiana and New Jersey to help people who lost loved ones and their homes. Now the Boy Scouts will travel more than 800 miles to help citizens in Moore, Okla. A powerful tornado May 20 left 24 people dead and 377 injured.

Travis deOliveira, a three-year Boy Scout who will attend DeKalb High School in the fall, said the scouts will bring school supplies and food to Moore citizens. 

“It would make a difference,” deOliveira said.

However, they’ll need about $2,000 for the trip. Seven out of 43 Boy Scouts going on the trip will contribute $150 to cover the cost, while the rest was raised at their Oklahoma fundraiser during the weekend. Scoutmaster Cliff Golden said he’s hoping another $1,000 will be raised for the trip.

Area residents can contribute by dropping off gift cards from Walmart, Target, Lowes and Home Depot before July 1 at First Lutheran Church, 324 N. Third St., DeKalb. The church will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to noon Fridays.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Boy Scouts and parent volunteers set up shop at a parking lot at 1926 Sycamore Road, DeKalb. They sold funnel cakes, pulled pork sandwiches, hot dogs and drinks to anyone who was hungry to fill their stomachs and give to a good cause. 

The Boy Scouts and Golden plan to arrive in Moore by July 1 and stay for six days. The place they will stay at is about three miles south of where the tornado hit, Golden said. 

Once there, they’ll work at a distribution center connected to Journey Church and help remove debris, Golden said. They also will offer safety equipment and first aid equipment to residents. Baby formula and diapers will be handed out as they are critical items that are always in short supply, he said. 

“Here’s something the boys see on the news, and they can be a part of it,” Golden said. 

The trip to Moore will be Bryce Comer’s first disaster relief trip. Comer is a three-year Boy Scout and eighth grade student at Clinton Rosette Middle School in DeKalb. While kind of nervous about the trip, he said it will be important. 

“People won’t think they are alone in trying to help themselves,” Comer said. 

Michele Gray, Boy Scout parent volunteer and deOliveira’s mother, said the disaster relief effort by the Boy Scouts is good, because it will show them what happens when people lose everything. Gray said the trip also will show how lucky the Boy Scouts are with what they have. 

Traveling out-of-state to help with disaster relief efforts can be a little fun for the Boy Scouts, too. 

When a tornado struck Harrisburg in 2012 and left eight people dead, the Boy Scouts headed out to the city to help remove rubble from two parking lots so the homeless could live there. The Boy Scouts made a contest to see who could break the biggest pieces with a sledgehammer.

Going to areas affected by disasters and helping the people there can make a big impression on the children, Golden said.

“It gives them a sense that citizenship isn’t local,” Golden said. “It’s a larger issue.”

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