Another Nomination for First Scout
provided by Bob Sichta

Good People:

I read with great interest your online article noting the possibility that Maurice Brandt was, by virtue of his membership in the organization established by Dan Beard which was later merged into what became the Boy Scouts of America, our nation's first Boy Scout. Surely Mr. Brandt was a fine man - and an outstanding Scout.

There are other claimants, one particularly close to me, for whom I wish to advocate: my great uncle, Lawrence Martin Proctor.

As a lad at the YMCA in Washington, DC, he was the head of a boy's group when, in 1910, according not only to his own recollection but that of the Boy Scouts of America - who recognized his status at a Jamboree in Washington, DC in the summer of 1985 (Scouting's 75th year) - he was, by both accounts, called forward by a group of men who stated they were forming the first Boy Scout Troop, following which they inducted him as the first Scout of Troop 1, in Washington, DC. During the course of it all, they also named him as the first Patrol Leader, at the end of which they were heard to say, "There, Larry. How does it feel to be chosen as the first Boy Scout in America."

 

A great choice he was, going on from high school in DC to work his way through Princeton University, found a major investment banking firm, help found two major hospitals in the Washington, DC area, serve as the head of the Red Feather (the forerunner to today's United Way), found and endow - with his incredible wife, my Aunt Ruth - the first facility in the greater-DC area for persons afflicted of cerebral palsy, serve on and as the head of numerous religious organizations (both within his own Falls Church First Presbyterian Church, but ecumenically, even to the point of being recognized by Pope John Paul II), among many many more accomplishments - not the least of which was that of being absolutely beloved by all who knew him or, like myself, were so incredibly proud to be related to him.

When he passed on to his maker at the age of 88 in the fall of 1985, the large church in Arlington, Virginia, was packed to the gills with friends (a rarity for someone of such an age, by that time virtually all of their peers have passed on before them), inclusive of a representative sent by the Boy Scouts of America who greeted me personally as I escorted my uncle's older sister, Louse, down the aisle.

If - and I do believe - my Uncle Larry was the first Boy Scout
in the United States, they could not have chosen a better one.

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October 11, 2003