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Oak Hill & Vicinity: Troop 42 Scouts


By Mary Lou Nahas

For Capital Region Independent Media

The West Durham Cemetery, where Eagle Scout Billy Sherburne did his project. Contributed photo

Two young men from Oak Hill and Vicinity have achieved Eagle Scout status already in 2023.

I, like many of you, know something about Scouting and what it does for the individual and the community, but talking to Colin Tumey, scoutmaster of Troop 42, I realized there was much I was not aware of.

I’d like to share some of that story with all of you this week.

According to the national organization, “The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be ‘Prepared. For Life.’”

“The scouting organization is composed of approximately 2.2 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21 and approximately 800,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.”

“Since its inception in 1910, more than 130 million youth have participated in the BSA’s programs. More than 35 million adult volunteers have helped carry out the BSA’s mission. Traditional scouting programs are operated by local chartering organizations, such as religious institutions, clubs, civic associations and educational organizations, which implement the scouting program for youth within their communities. These units are led entirely by volunteers appointed by the chartering organization, who are supported by local councils.”

Troup 42 was founded in 1932 and has been sponsored by the Greenville American Legion Post No. 291 since 1952.   

This photo taken outside the Scout House in Greenville many years ago shows how young men grow  with the program. Contributed photo

Tumey said, “Dave Battini was the Scoutmaster for 47 years before I took over five years ago. I was his assistant scoutmaster 18 years before I became the scoutmaster.”

Battini was a history teacher at Durham Elementary and later Cairo-Durham School. Because of his long vacations, he was able to take the Scouts on summertime trips, including more than 30 times to the National Scout Jamboree. Each trip included a 10-day backpacking trek, covering 75 to 100 miles at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico

Tumey said, “We are an active troop with 26 youth registered and over 10 adult leaders. We meet every Wednesday night from September to June at the Scout House, an early schoolhouse located next to the Presbyterian Church in Greenville. On June 10 this year there will be a ceremony naming the Scout House the David Battini Scout Building. We will be putting a sign up and having an open house with Troop memorabilia.”

Scout troops are not allowed to own property but their chartering organization does. Thus, Helen Brown, a beloved Greenville teacher, left property to the American Legion to be used as a local campground for the troop. The site is called Camp 42 and has been designed and constructed by the troop to suit their needs.

Tumey has prepared a list of Eagle projects done by troop members. He explained, “I expect to have nine more Eagle Scouts approved by the end of this year. Our troop is 93 years old this year and those additional nine will make an even 100 Eagle Scouts since we started, but 99 have been since 1973. We had one earn it in 1952.”

According to Tumey, to earn the Eagle Scout rank a Scout must participate in the troop’s activities and advance through the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second-Class, First-Class Star and Life. He must earn 21 merit badges; 14 of them specifically to become an Eagle Scout. The Scout must serve at least six months in a position of responsibility to show leadership.

Garrett Cunningham, who achieved Eagle status in 2022, and Andrew King both participated in a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, a trip thatincluded a 10-day backpacking trek covering 75 to 100 miles. Contributed photo

While a Life Scout he must plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious organization, any school or his community. The project must benefit an organization other than the Boy Scouts. The project proposal must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, the scoutmaster and unit committee, and the council or district before the start.

Imagine the dedication, planning and work that went in to these projects over the years.


1952: Kenneth Bott, unknown

1973: Randy Hood and Douglas Welter, each raised a guide dog for the blind puppy

1973: Philip Kerns, unknown

1973: Al Cardamone, Jr. helped create small park in Patchogue

1976: Gary Welter planted trees and shrubbery at Norton Hill Wildlife Club

1977: Larry Smith painted the Surprise firehouse

1978: Neil Baumann painted the Norton Hill firehouse

1979: John Conlon cleaned the apple orchard by Greenville High School

1979: John Whittaker built a dam in the Basic Creek for a trout pool

1980: James Whittaker ran basketball camp for grade school children

1980: Richard Schreiber painted the Greenville firehouse

1982: Michael McAneny, unknown

1983: Steven Greiner removed and refinished doors at St. John’s Church sanctuary

1983: Christian Maten, unknown

1983: John Rose scraped and painted all fire hydrants in Greenville

1983: Jeffrey Whittaker repaired and repainted the Greenville High School baseball bleachers

1984: Mark Whittaker organized and ran a bikeathon for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

1984: Dan Conlon made a nature trail and bridge

1984: Jeffrey Margiasso did renovations to the Coeymans Hollow firehouse and youth facility

1984: Donald Wells painted a building at American Legon Post No. 291

1984: Christopher Hynes replaced sheetrock, painted and built shelves at the Scout building

1985:  David Pflug fingerprinted GCS elementary school children with State Police aid

1987: John Lafferty painted the outside of the Scout building

1987: Richard Wells built a shed for St. John’s Church

1987: Brian Blake painted and remodeled the Rensselaerville Ambulance bay

1987: Fred Wienberg built shelving for equipment at the Rensselaer Ambulance bay

1988: Walter Hubicki (MD) painted the Greenville Center Baptist Church parsonage

1992: Terrane Blake cleaned, painted and organized at the Rensselaerville Ambulance bay

1992: Helmut Philipp repainted the inside of St. John’s Hall

1992: Matthew Gough put up the fire department numbers in Greenville

1997: Jeremy Kroop put up fire department numbers in Rensselaerville

1999: Darren Ricci built and installed bird houses along the town park nature trail

2000: Gabe Meringolo built and placed bird feeders along the trail of Greenville Park

2001: Brian Monteverd built two bleachers at the Greenville Town Park soccer field

2005: Ryan Ricci did a clean-up at Norton Hill Pond, added walking trail and animal shelters

2006: Dan Nevins made improvements to the Durham Little League field, dugout and bat boxes

2006: Kyle McCormick built a turnout gear locker for Rensselaerville Fire Company

2006: Joe Belarge did a clean-up at Locust Cemetery and replaced the sign

2006: Jeffrey Fabian built flower boxes for East Durham

2007: Brian Tumey built the Greenville Gazebo Park sidewalk

2008: Brian Crosby painted the railing, walkway by the Greenville Public Library

2008: Zachary Snyder did a project at the Greenville First Baptist Church

2009: Colton Spahmer created an indoor skateboard park at First Baptist Church

2009: Jordan Marrone did a project at the Westerlo FH and Cell Tower Fence

2010: Sam Mataraza renovated and painted the interior at the Bates Hollow Church

2011: Justin Nevins provided atrial fibrillation devices for the Greenville, Durham and Rensselaerville town halls

2011: Fred Hoefer cleared the UMC recreation area behind the Thrift Shop and made benches

2011: Tim Crosby did a Freehold Cemetery beautification project by painting the fence and shed

2011: Patrick Ostoyich painted truck bays and built shelves at the Medway-Grapeville firehouse

2011: John Hicks painted Greenville’s fire hydrants

2011: Tucker Lewis repainted the Greenville NYS History sign

2011: R. Michael Amedure repainted the NYS Historic sign in Rensselaerville

2012: Patrick Kelly did a beautification fence project at East Durham Knights of Columbus

2012: Josh Fitzgibbons built an in-house library for Cairo ARC and held a book drive

2012: James Tschinkel worked on the basement at St. John’ Church rectory

2012: James DiDonato renovated the Greenville Locust Cemetery gate, sign, fence and memorial stone

2013: Dylan Latham did a project at the Westerlo Town Park, picnic tables, basketball hoops and cleared brush

2013: Thomas Gamsjager built and put out 13 wood duck nesting boxes

2014: Austin Nevins restored the Oak Hill Cemetery stone and records

2014: Russell Lewis installed missing NYS Historical signs in Greenville

2014: Cody Bowden installed signage at the Greenville Cemetery and mapping sites

2015: Matthew Plattner renovated Greenville town entrance signs

2015: Patrick Bowden restored the Westerlow Town Park baseball dugouts, backstop and field

2015: Austin Rosen provided golf clubs for troops overseas

2016: Dan King rebuilt the church sign and entrance ramp at Oak Hill United Methodist Church

2017: Bergen Criswell built a bicycle trail in Greenville

2017: Cormac Tolan built a new sign for the Greenville Fire Company in Norton Hill

2017: Jude Kappel upgraded the field of the South Westerlo Little League field

2018: Cameron Baitsholts built three picnic areas at Lake Myosotis, with tables and fire pits

2018: Tommy Mason built a latrine at American Legion property, Camp 42

2018: Jonathan Hagan, doors at the St. John’s Church

2018: Nick Miller did a library project at Tech Valley

2018: Steven King performed a Freehold firehouse bell project

2019: Tristen Marcello, flagpole at American Legion property, Camp 42

2019: Austin Field, new sign at the American Legion

2020: Zachary Storrs, picnic tables and garbage bins for pavilion at Camp 42

2020: Walter Sutton, entrance gate at American Legion property, Camp 42

2020: Dean Rosen Battini’s Kitchen at American Legion property, Camp 42

2021: Matthew Hagan Snyder’s Cemetery Restoration Project, Freehold

2021: Connor Handel, bird houses and benches at Brandow Park

2021: Dakota Storrs, comfort bags for foster children

2022: Thomas Rohan, replaced the sign for Brandow Park

2022: Garrett Cunningham, Grapeville Baptist Church Beautification Project

2022: Uht Simon, Greyson Project

2023: Andrew King painted and repaired parts of the Durham Methodist Church

2023: Billy Sherburne, West Durham Cemetery parking lot

Eagle Scout Thomas Rohan, who completed a project at Brandow Park. Contributed photo

While I can’t tell the whole story of each Scout and his project, let me share some  details of the latest two projects:

Billy Sherburne selected the historic West Durham cemetery on the Susquehanna Turnpike for his Eagle project because many of his neighbors’ family members are buried there and he saw firsthand that access to it was difficult. He wanted to make it easier for them to visit and honor those who had passed. As it was, it was extremely challenging to get to the cemetery and people who came were forced to park in the road. Billy’s project provided a wider, more accessible entry to the cemetery, particularly for elderly folks, and an area to park vehicles. He first had to have the piece of land adjacent to the cemetery donated to the town of Durham, which owns the cemetery. He then found a local surveyor who was willing to donate his time to survey the property. Finally, he organized volunteers to clear the property, level it and grade it. If you drive up to the top of the mountain today, you can park safely off the road in the designated parking area, easily walk through the rehung wrought iron gates, and enter the cemetery.

Billy Sherburne

Andrew King’s Eagle project involved work at the Durham United Methodist Church, located at the bottom of the Susquehanna Turnpike, near Highway 145. The historic church, which is listed on the Greene County Historic Register, always requires maintenance. King scraped and painted the large windows in the sanctuary; sanded and painted a side door; sanded, painted and replaced part of the railing on the front ramp. He also repaired the brickwork around the sign in the back of the church and cleaned up the yard around the church. Andrew, who has two older brothers [Daniel and Stephen] who are Eagle Scouts, started in the first grade as a Tiger Scout.   

Andrew King received his Eagle award at the Durham United Methodist Church, where he did his project. His brothers Daniel and Stephen, also Eagle Scouts in Troop 42, participated in the ceremony along with their mother, Melinda, and  Scoutmaster Colin Tumey, who guided them all through the program. Contributed photo

Both Scouts are currently looking at colleges for next year, while busy with school, sports and part-time jobs in the community. 

When you drive around the local communities, looks for the projects done by the troop members over the years. Many you will already be familiar with but didn’t realize how they came to be there.

And certainly, thank the Scouts, Scoutmaster Tumey, Scout families, and all those who assist the troop in their work and growth.

Thomas Rohan planned and erected a new sign at Brandow Park for his Eagle Scout project. Contributed photo
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