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Photo by Lisa Carolin. Judy and Steve Gentz at the Community Boy Scout Breakfast.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Judy and Steve Gentz at the Community Boy Scout Breakfast.

Story and Photos by Lisa Carolin

For Judy and Steve Gentz, the Boy Scouts were a good experience for both their two sons and for the couple, who were both scout leaders.

They shared stories about scouting at a Community Breakfast sponsored by the Huron Trails District, Southern Shores Field Service Council Boy Scouts of America at the Chelsea Church of the Nazarene on April 30.

When their son, Joel, became a combat rescue officer in the Air Force, he was still thinking about scouting according to his mom.

“Joel loved doing things as a group, and scouting promotes that ‘we’re all in this together,'” said Judy Gentz.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Niki Wardner talks about scouting at a community breakfast Wednesday morning.

Photo by Lisa Carolin. Niki Wardner, Huron Trails District chair, talks about scouting at a community breakfast Wednesday morning.

Joel Gentz was killed in Afghanistan in June of 2010 when his helicopter was shot down.

“I so much appreciated having the support of the scouts at Joel’s funeral,” said Steve Gentz.

“The men Joel worked with in Afghanistan told us Joel was a humble leader,” said his mom. “You are no better than anyone else. You are part of a team. A survivor of the crash told us that Joel was one officer who would stay with a crew until the job was done.”

Their story was one of the many shared about the positive experience of scouting during the breakfast.

Allen Cole, 2014 Chelsea Community Breakfast chairman and Troop 413 Committee chairman, said that he got to know the Gentz family because of his job as a funeral director, and because they shared a scouting background.

“Joel gave his life, literally, and before that figuratively, for other people,” said Cole.

Niki Wardner, Huron Trails District chairwoman, encouraged those in attendance to support the Boy Scouts — who number close to 200 in the Chelsea area — with donations or service.

Past Huron Trails District Chairman John Copeland said that his son said that the lessons he learned and friends he made are what he enjoyed most about scouting.

“I saw that scouting transformed him as a leader and built his character,” said Copeland.

Sixteen young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout this year with projects that included designing and building a horse run at Starry Skies horse rescue, designing and building coops for the Live Birth Center at the Chelsea Fair Grounds, and building a new storage shed for the Waterloo Farm Museum.

For more information about joining the Boy Scouts or volunteering in the Chelsea area, contact Cristina Van Putten at cristina.vanputten@scouting.org.


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