Maybe it was the letter from the 78-year-old Eagle Scout, the guy who enclosed a $50 check because he hated that thieves had stolen Troop 804’s camping gear.
Or it could have been the retiree who heard the news at church and handed a scout leader’s wife $100. He was an Eagle Scout, too.
Then there was the competitive barbecue cook in Myrtle Beach who insisted on throwing a fundraiser for the boys. He said he had to do something.
If the thought of stealing a trailer’s worth of Boy Scout camping equipment — from a church parking lot, no less — simmered the Conway scout leaders’ blood, these small acts of kindness brought them comfort.
“Quite honestly, we have been blown away by the heart of the community toward these boys,” said Randy Werkhoven, Troop 804’s assistant scoutmaster. “It’s absolutely awesome to see people that are willing to sacrifice to right a wrong.”
The theft happened sometime between July 31, when the scouts wrapped up their meeting in First United Methodist Church’s family life center, and Aug. 5, when scout leader Robin Fowler noticed it was missing.
He called Scoutmaster Bill Hatoway, who then phoned Werkhoven.
“Please tell me you have the trailer,” he said.
Conway's 804 is one of the oldest troops in the county, dating back some 50 years, and the camping collection had steadily grown.
But gone were decades of equipment: a dozen tents, six 20-pound propane cylinders, lanterns, stoves, picnic tables, coolers, chuck boxes and American flags.
“I was disappointed that people would do that, especially from a church parking lot,” said Alex Hawley, a 13-year-old Life Scout. “It was very shocking.”
Hatoway filed a police report, but the trailer hasn’t turned up. Still, troop leaders refuse to let the crime stop them from scouting. Using their own camping equipment and some donated gear, 804's leaders haven’t missed an event.
“Not going to let that happen,” Hatoway said.
And rather than dwell on what was taken, the troop’s former members are focused on the response.
Josh Beverly, a 20-year-old Coastal Carolina University student who earned his Eagle Scout credentials at 804, said that’s why he agreed to sell tickets for the troop’s barbecue fundraiser next week.
“It is my obligation to the scout troop that helped mold me,” he said.
The fundraiser will be Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the same church where the troop meets.
The scouts hope to raise $10,000 to replace the stolen items, and they said the recent generosity has them well on their way.
“I love that the community’s getting in with it,” said Hawley, who joined the troop in first grade. “That’s what scouting’s about.”