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Scouts honor Chuck Edwards, who praises his Scoutmaster

State Sen. Chuck Edwards shares a laugh with his scoutmaster, Jim Babb. State Sen. Chuck Edwards shares a laugh with his scoutmaster, Jim Babb.

At age 15, son of a single mom, Chuck Edwards faced a fork in the road.

 

“I was at a place in my life where I could have gone down this road or this road,” he said of his teen-age years in Waynesville. “My dad lived in Birmingham, my mom was a single mom, trying to raise three kids. Life was kind of hard. I could have gone down a couple different paths.”
Someone invited him to check out the Boy Scouts and he came under the wing of “just an incredible, incredible leader — someone who set an example, someone that would offer discipline and somebody that truly influenced my life and helped me become the person that I am today,” Edwards said. “There is no question that my involvement in scouting and the examples that were shown to me led me to be successful in life, successful in business and hopefully I will be successful in community service and politics,” he said.
A state senator since 2016, Edwards was honored by Scouting’s Terrora District as the 2019 Distinguished Citizen Award last week during a dinner at Mountain Lodge. Guests including Sheriff Lowell Griffin and Maj. Frank Stout, Emergency Management Director Jimmy Brissie and County Commission Chair Grady Hawkins attended the benefit.
A few years ago, the Daniel Boone Council asked Edwards to get involved in Scouting.
“I was really excited and my response was, ‘Wow, I get to be a Boy Scout again?’”
When he honors Eagle Scouts, he always asks the young man to name someone who influenced him positively in his scouting life.
“And as I do that, I always think of the person that influenced me,” he said.
Then Edwards surprised the room by calling up his old scoutmaster, Jim Babb, from Waynesville.
“I often have thought if that man has any idea the influence that he had on my life at a time that was very critical,” Edwards said. “I haven’t had the chance to say that in 40 years but I’d certainly like to say it now.”
Although “there are a lot of stories I can’t tell,” he told a tamer one about how Mr. Babb, when he took the troop camping on Shining Rock, “taught us how to carefully place crackers underneath somebody’s tent,” so that foraging skunks would show up.
“I like to think of Jim as someone that taught us how to be responsible adults but let us be kids,” Edwards said.


Married to scouting

The Scouting supporters also heard from Don Henderson, who has spent 58 years in Scouting, 19 as scoutmaster of Edneyville Troop 605. His wife, Wendy, plunged into scouting with a passion to match Don’s. She had to.
“When I asked Wendy to marry me I said if you agree to marry me you’re marrying the Boy Scouts, too,” he said. He recalled his scouting days under the legendary Scoutmaster Minor Wilson, who helped start Troop 605 after World War II. One time Wilson took the troop to Atlanta.
“I was a little country boy that grew up in Fruitland,” Henderson said. “I’d never seen a building over six stories before.” For the trip, he had bought a disposal camera. “I took 28 pictures of tall buildings.”
The Boy Scouts taught him to swim, fish, scuba dive, camp and hike “and all these things have lasted me a lifetime,” he said. “I went to Philmont (Scout Ranch in New Mexico) as a youth and I’ve been back 14 more times as an adult. I’ve taken a lot of boys out there and brought back a lot of men.”
One time, Allen Enloe, a Scout who suffered from M.S., had made the backpacking trip, which is generally a nine-day trek in the Rocky Mountains. Traditionally, the summit up the Tooth of Time is a celebratory climb at the end. Enloe was tired. “You guys go ahead. I don’t think I can make it.” “We’re all going,” the Scouts answered back. They picked up their crewmate and carried him up to the top of the Tooth of Time.
Rebranded as Scouts USA, the organization now allows girls to join. The Terrora District is adding a female troop, sponsored by Hendersonville Presbyterian Church and another in Transylvania County, Wendy Henderson said. Covenant Presbyterian Church is starting a male troop.

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