It was a distinct honor and privilege for Jacksonville, N.C., Boy Scout Troop 370 to march in your parade in celebration of Escanaba's Sesquicentennial. Thank you Escanaba and Kay Johnson. The warmth, energy and positive spirit of every citizen we came in contact with greatly impressed us all.
The Escanaba Independence Day firework display was spectacular. We trekked to Washington D.C. for the 4th of July in 2012 and all commented that Esky's show actually outshined that of the National Capital in scale, brilliance and majesty. While at Ludington Park that night, one of our Scout leaders, originally from New York, repeatedly gushed about the outstanding conduct and exemplary good order of the thousands of celebrants in the park with negligible police presence required.
Our Troop hails from a community adjacent to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, and families affiliated with the Marine Corps make up the majority of our ranks. Consequently, we were heartened by the unabashed patriotism of Escanaba citizens along the parade route when they stood and sometimes even saluted when the National Colors borne by our Scouts passed on parade. Both adult leaders and Scouts haven't stopped talking about the great outdoor activities we enjoyed: camping, swimming, fishing, whitewater rafting, and a deer hunting camp visit; special thanks to Dan Mayville, Don LeMire, Richard Rusch and David Rusch for their assistance. And the Scouts still rave about the great chow, from fresh caught fish fillets to pasties from Dobber's and Gram's, to great steaks at Hereford and Hops and more fresh fish at Breezy Point. Even their big appetites met their match at the Lumberjack Breakfast at the Eagles Club before Sunday Mass.
Some people might say it defies common sense to drive over a thousand miles one way to share a week in Upper Michigan with its Yoopers. But while all participants recognized the challenge presented by distance, each reflects today with a twinkle in his eye and an enthused grin on his face on how they grew through the total experience. We have a vibrant, new appreciation for Michigan, a respect for the rugged geography that spans six states, and a confidence in our own capacity to thrive under demanding circumstances. And yes, the success of our trip has already inspired a fresh, youthful yearning for new horizons. No distance is too great when priceless shared experiences are the destination.
Robert L. Rusch