Boy Scouts to honor unsung hero

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On Friday, Aug. 8, the Andrew Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America will host a dinner honoring Scoutmaster of Troop 158, Freddie Voss.

“Mr. Freddie,” as he is known by all his past and current scouts, has been involved in scouting with Troop 158 for more than 60 years.

He began his scouting experience as a Cub Scout in Pack 158, then sponsored by First Baptist Church, and later a Boy Scout in Troop 158 as a charter member in 1946. The troop is sponsored by the local Knights of Columbus Council. He earned his Eagle Scout award from this troop in 1950 and was the first scout in this troop to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest honor a young man can receive.

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As a young scout Freddie attended Camp Kickapoo each summer and attended the National Scouting Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pa., in 1950. In the summer of 1971 Freddie learned that Troop 158 was about to lose its charter and not wanting this to happened he volunteered to be Scoutmaster and after 36 years still serves in that capacity.

Under his leadership, Troop 158 is one of the most active troops in the Andrew Jackson Council, with monthly events planned to keep his scouts involved in the scouting program as much as possible. During his years in scouting as a young man and leader he has attended Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M., 10 times and celebrated his 65th birthday on Mount Baldy at Philmont and his scouts thought it appropriate that their “bald” scoutmaster did this on Mount Baldy. Just this past week Freddie, unable to take this trek anymore, flew to Camp Philmont to meet his boys coming off the trail with his assistant scoutmaster Paul Maier. What a surprise that must have been for them!

Freddie received Scouting’s District Award of Merit in 1976 and was awarded the Silver Beaver in 1980, the highest honor an adult leader can receive. “Mr. Freddie” has a walking staff with the initials of all the boys that have earned the rank of Eagle Scout under his leadership, which is 70 at this time and more to come I am sure. He has made such a difference in the lives of many boys too numerous to mention and the founder of scouting, Lord Baden Powell, would be proud that he has instilled the values of scouting in so many young men. Since retiring from his family-owned business, AB Motor Company, Freddie has been active in rebuilding and maintaining several camp sites at Hood Scout Reservation, serves on various council committees, is a Scout Camp inspector and has been responsible for several district camporees. With scouting running through his veins, he has become a local inspiration to other scout leaders like me who try to walk in his shoes and only hope to be as good a scout leader as Freddie. Whenever we have a scouting question, Freddie is who we go to for the answer.

Freddie has been married to a wonderful woman for 47 years, Pat Clements Voss, who has stood by and supported him throughout his scouting life and without her support all he does would not be possible. He has two children, son Eagle Scout Van Voss and daughter Lori Voss Olinde, and five grandchildren and his oldest grandson is a member of Troop 158. He is a member of St. Mary Basilica Catholic Church and serves as usher and is always willing to help out with any parish needs. He is a 50-year member of the Knights of Columbus, which sponsors Troop 158, currently serving as Grand Knight, a position he also had 34 years ago. He has chaired many events and committees and is also a member of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. He is a member of Cathedral School Athletic Association and is involved with Cathedral School’s annual fall festival.

The dinner to honor Freddie will be Friday Aug. 8, in the W. L. Nelson Multi-Purpose Room of the Career and Technical Education Center at Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and all are invited to come and share your memories about “Mr. Freddie” or just to say a thank you for all he has done for scouting and our community. All the proceeds from this event will benefit the Andrew Jackson Council Boy Scouts of America.

For tickets or reservations contact Betty Lou Hicks at 601-445-5804 or 601-445-8140 or District Scouting Executive Mike Culpepper at 601-248-9243.

Ricky Warren is Scoutmaster of Troop 158.