Friday, August 1, 2008

Requiem for a Friend

I found out this morning that one of our scout leaders had passed away from a heart attack.

Billy Gebhardt was just 45 years old.

Billy was to the Boy Scouts what Joe Paterno is to the Nittany Lions...a legend in our area and one who inspired the boys to become great men.

Billy devoted more than 3/4 of his life to scouting. He was responsible for raising a boatload of money for "Friends of Scouting". He spearheaded a ton of events, and cooked like a gourmet chef. Billy was a Renaissance man and our boys thought the world of him.

Billy probably pushed more lackadaisical scouts to become everything they possibly could be, most achieving Eagle Scout rank with his constant badgering. He did it because he believed in the boys. The boys responded because they believed in Billy.

I must admit, I wept openly in my son's arms this morning upon finding out, via email, that he had passed away.

I wept because I was becoming friends with Billy, which you didn't do if he didn't like you.

I wept because there were things left unfinished that, without his signature, may be only mildly successful.

I wept because my son would never have the opportunity to be badgered into achieving greatness by Billy Gephardt.

Not that Billy was the be-all and end all of Scouting...but if you ask some of those boys who were "badgered" into completing their Eagle Projects and that one more merit badge, they'd beg to differ.

Rest in peace, my friend. I will miss you. Scout meetings will never be the same.

Your spirit will live on in the many lives you have touched, however briefly. I will make sure of it, I promise...on my honor.

1 comment:

Charlie on the PA Turnpike said...

If he was even half the man you describe, it is indeed a great loss.

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