Burlington Boy Scout troop oldest in Iowa


By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

BURLINGTON — Boy Scout Troop 3 celebrated its 100th anniversary during a special Mass last month at St. John Catholic Church where the troop was chartered. St. John is now part of Ss. John & Paul Parish.

Anne Marie Amacher
Byron Tatti, committee member, religious emblems coordinator and merit badge counselor with Troop 3 in Burlington, receives the Bronze Pelican award from Bishop Martin Amos at the diocesan scouting Mass Feb. 19 at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf. Troop 3 is celebrating its 100th anniversary as a Boy Scout Troop in Iowa.

More than 50 current and former members of the troop attended the Mass and reception that followed. Troop 3 is the oldest continuous Boy Scout troop in the State of Iowa.

Byron Tatti, a Troop 3 committee member who also serves as religious emblems coordinator and merit badge counselor, said the troop engages in many of the same activities that have been offered for the past 100 years. Meetings are held Monday nights to work on various requirements for younger and older Boy Scouts. Older scouts also help young scouts with the advancement.


Camping remains a big emphasis. Boys work on outdoor skills. They also take educational trips throughout the year. About 75 percent of the scouts attend the summer camp at Camp Eastman where they work on advancements and swim, fish, go hiking and make new friends, Tatti said. In addition to those typical Boy Scout requirements, Troop 3 also has given “constant service to the community and to the church.” Through troop activities and Eagle Scout projects, the scouts have helped the community and church with cleanups, Christmas boxes, relays and other service projects.

Tatti shared some of the early history of Iowa’s oldest Boy Scout Troop.

1917 — Troop 3 officially formed and was chartered through St. John Catholic Church. The first official activity: selling war bonds to help the nation during World War I. The troop sold $1,675 worth of bonds.
1923 — Ben Spiegel became the troop’s first Eagle Scout. He was the first of 104 Eagle Scouts to come from this troop.
1927 — Troop 3 attended a baseball game as guests of the St. Louis Browns. Before the game against the New York Yankees, the troop presented a custom fountain pen to Babe Ruth.
1928 — Scoutmaster Lawrence “Hap” Dehner became only the third scoutmaster in the United States to be awarded the Scoutmaster’s Key, an award for outstanding leadership of youths.
1935 — Dehner was awarded the Silver Beaver Award — the highest bestowed by the local Boy Scout Council.
1937 — Former Troop 3 scout Mark Panther holds the Big Ten javelin record and is selected for the U.S. Olympic team.
1942 — Troop 3 leads a drive to collect salvage paper and rubber in Burlington for the war effort during WWII.
1942-45 — Several former members of Troop 3 serve the nation in Europe and the Pacific in WWII.

Recent history of Troop 3

1996 – Don Schier becomes scoutmaster. His grandfather was among signers of the original 1917 charter.
1996-present – Several members have been elected as Chief to the Tribe of the Silver Tomahawk, a Boy Scout Honor Society based at Camp Eastman.
1997 – Troop 3 is awarded the Quality Catholic Unit by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.
1999, 2000 and 2014 – Troop 3 sends boys to the Philmont High Adventure reserve in New Mexico as part of the Mississippi Valley contingent.
2012 – Chris Macbeth becomes Troop 3’s 100th Eagle Scout.
2014 — Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa declares “Troop 3 Appreciation Day” in honor of the troop’s more than 100 Eagle Scouts.
2016 – Troop 3 is awarded “Unit of the Year” by the Shoquoquon District of the Mississippi Valley Council.
2017 – Troop 3 adult volunteer Larry Dirth is awarded the Silver Beaver Award by the Mississippi Valley Council.
2017 – Troop 3 will send scouts to the National Jamboree in West Virginia this summer.

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