On October 10th, 2018, Hurricane Michael landed within Section SR-1B, which covers lodges in Southern Alabama, Northeast Florida, and Central and Southern Mississippi. That day, Section Adviser Wade Hartley contacted lodge advisers to collect damage reports and announced a way to combat the disaster. Along with the section leadership, he designed a patch to help Scouts and units that were affected. Wade said, “I initially had the idea literally while the storm raged, and within less than a day after, each lodge had committed its full support. Within just a few days afterwards a design was completed and advertising began.”
Lodges and online memorabilia groups ordered over 750 hurricane relief patches to then sell and distribute to their members. Amidst the chaos, this strategy not only minimized transactions, but also saved money in postage that could be donated. The proceeds benefited two councils affected by the storm, coming to a combined total of $3,500, $1,000 of which Section SR-1B donated. Distribution of funds were based on the number of scouts and units which were affected, and were spent directly on hurricane related expenses such as uniform replacements, handbooks, and trailers. Wade believes the project was extremely beneficial to both councils and also brought their section together for a good deed.
In addition to the hurricane relief patches, the section has a long history of service. Since 2009, it has hosted food drive at conclaves, as well as awarded annual $1,000 and $2,000 service grants modeled after the OA Service Grant. Funds are acquired from patch auctions and created patches to build the fund, which has successfully provided a total of $24,000 to local council camps since its inception. The section has also created comfort and sanitation kits at conclave to donate to local charities for the last three years.
Section SR-1B has continuously gone out of its way both in the past, and most recently to charitable causes to benefit the greater good. Wade said, “The hurricane patches were just another element in our commitment to service to our councils and communities.” This shows their dedication to providing our common purpose while making sure scouting is preserved under hardship.