AEP donated $300 to Troop 541 of Buchanan

Published 4:57 pm Thursday, January 26, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN - If there was a Boy Scout merit badge for adult volunteers, Scott Hollingshead and Bill Wah would have each earned one Tuesday night. Instead, for the time they have spent with Troop 541 of Buchanan, the two men were honored with a pair of $150 donations, in their name, to the troop.
Hollingshead and Wah are both employees of American Electric Power and were recognized by AEP's Connects program for volunteering with the local Boy Scout Troop.
Scoutmaster Bill Blumka, who accepted the check from the volunteers, said the $300 donation would be put directly into the troop's general fund.
AEP employees logged more than 130,000 volunteer hours in 2005. As a result, nearly 800 grants were awarded by the AEP Connections program.
The award was presented Tuesday night during the troop's Court of Honor at the First United Methodist Church in Buchanan. The ceremony is usually held three to four times a year and invites family and friends to learn about the troop's events, bookwork and awards.
Many of the scouts were honored with merit badges for their work in areas such as photography, nuclear science, electricity and aviation. Six scouts also received the Polar Bear award for spending a night in a tent during a winter camp-out.
Troop 541 has a number of events in the coming months including a recycling project where the group will load a truck with old newspapers and have them delivered to a Grand Rapids company to use for insulation.
The troop is also preparing for an Eagle Scout Ceremony on Feb. 19 and, in about two months, will be heading to South Bend, Ind. for the First Aid Meet. At the meet, the boys perform rescues in a variety of scenarios.
Blumka said past events sent the scouts across a river with a rope to save a volunteer stranded in the water and also through a bus accident to administer first aid.
In chilly willy, scouts are given only a compass to find a person in the woods suffering from hypothermia. The volunteers at the events also do a lot to make the scenario as real as possible, Blumka said.
Fake blood is common, and, the scoutmaster said one injured volunteer even shocked the troop with a dangling eyeball. “They do a real bang-up job on the make up,” he said. “Some of the boys got sick.”
The troops next, and largest, Court of Honor is scheduled for the spring around April or May.