SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - - Wolf Den 10 of Riley School's Pack 224 had a very special guest at a recent scout meeting when Former Air Force Sergeant Tony Torres came to share his experiences in the military as well as teach the young scouts valuable lessons of patriotism.
“We had Mr. Torres speak to our den as part of their ‘Duty To Country’ requirement,” said Den Leader Emily Raphel. “The Scout Oath and the Scout Law ask a Scout to pledge his honor to do his best to do his duty to God and his country and to be reverent. A prime example of this would be a serviceman from our military.”
Torres served active duty in the U.S Air Force from 1996 to 2006 holding multiple positions in the armed forces including; Security Forces, Combat Photography, and Defense Information School Instructor. The young scouts heard intriguing accounts about the veteran’s tours to Altus Air Force Base, Korea, Langley AFB and Ft. Meade as well as his deployments to Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
“The Scouts were eager to ask many questions and were in awe of wearing and touching the materials Mr. Torres brought,” added Raphel. “While he was there for an hour, the Scouts could have spoken with him for many more.”
Aside from hearing the experiences from a real life hero, Torres taught the Scouts important lessons about the uses for the American flag, proper folding and disposal of serviceable flags, the types of services that can be performed by multiple branches of the armed forces, formal military gear, clothing, patches and forms of identification.
Torres also let the scouts try on his military camouflage jacket and examine his challenge coins. He explained that the coins are earned after completing certain missions or requirements, much like the scouts earn recognition after completing certain requirements. Torres also answered many questions about what military life is like on the bases, how military people and their families can still have fun, and how one can serve overseas or domestically. The scouts identified with Torres after learning that the military has an oath much like the scouts do.
“A serviceman exemplifies many of the characteristics in the Scout Law that states, ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent’,” Rachel concluded. “When children see those who they consider heroes or positive role models, they are moved in a deeper, more personal way than simply being talked to about it. Their experience of proper flag folding, and the rules that regulate that honored practice, made much more sense because they were able to experience it themselves.”