By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
GREENVILLE — David Battini was a scoutmaster and a community volunteer for most of his adult life, and in recognition of his service, Boy Scout Troop 42 dedicated the Scout building on Route 32 in his name at a ceremony earlier this month.
Battini was the scoutmaster from 1971 to 2018.
Scouts — including 26 Eagle Scouts who trained under Battini over the years — and the community gathered on the lawn outside the small Scout building next to Prevost Hall for a ceremony, and then headed inside the building to view a display of photos and other memorabilia portraying Battini’s many years heading Boy Scout Troop 42.
“We are gathered here today to honor a man who exemplified the phrase ‘leadership in service,’” current Scoutmaster Colin Tumey said to open the ceremony. “My friend and scouting mentor Dave Battini was the consummate volunteer who gave his time and talents to anyone who asked.”
Tumey said he met Battini when he joined the troop as a youth in 1972, and eventually became Battini’s assistant scoutmaster. Over the years, he watched as Battini racked up an impressive array of some of scouting’s most prestigious adult awards.
Battini was awarded the District Award of Merit, the Silver Beaver Award, the Vigil Honor of the Arrow and the American Legion Scouter of the Year Award.
Along with serving as Troop 42’s scoutmaster for 47 years, Battini also volunteered extensively in the community as a charter member of the Greenville Rescue Squad, as a volunteer with the Greenville Fire Police, and for the county’s Meals on Wheels program, among other activities.
A sign with Battini’s name is now posted above the Scout building’s door with the slogan “Leaders Created Here,” “because that is what he did here as scoutmaster of Troop 42,” Tumey said of Battini.
During his tenure, Battini traveled with the troop to every state in the Union with the exceptions of Alaska, Hawaii and Rhode Island, and their travels even sent them overseas to Australia, England and South Korea.
The list of activities and skills Battini worked on with the troop was extensive, including camping, hiking, canoeing, fishing, ice fishing and first aid, as well as “countless numbers of hours in community service in the Greenville area,” Tumey said.
Under Battini’s leadership, 70 young men rose to the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank that can be achieved in scouting.
Greene County Sheriff Peter Kusmisnky presented the scouts with a citation from Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, who was unable to attend the service because he was called back into legislative session.
Naming the building in Battini’s honor was a fitting tribute, Kusminsky said.
“The dedication of this building will create an everlasting memory of the man that Dave was,” Kusminsky said. “His service and dedication to the Boy Scouts was unmatched and serves as an example for all of us to follow.”
Most of Battini’s adult life was devoted to Boy Scouts and his community, the sheriff said.
“Being active in the Boy Scouts for most of his life and up until the time of death shows just how much time and how much the development of values and morals in our youth meant to him,” Kusminsky said. “He dedicated his life to ensuring that scouts would be prepared for the future and I’m sure that Dave’s influence on every scout he encountered will have an impact on their lives and will do so for generations to come.”
Troop 42 Committee Chairman Steve Mataraza said Battini’s dedication to his community was evident throughout his life, including his work as a teacher, with scouting and with local groups. He was also passionate about ice fishing, history, cooking and first aid, Mataraza added.
“Dedicating this building in Dave Battini’s name is a fitting reminder of who this man was and where he could be found almost every Wednesday night for nearly 50 years,” Mataraza said, adding that he will always be remembered “by those he led, and those who led beside him.”
Battini’s longtime friend David Stuhr, assistant scoutmaster of Troop 54 in New Jersey, said he first met Battini in 1966 and said his cooking skills, particularly camp cooking, were exceptional.
“He was as good a cook in the campgrounds as most people are in the kitchen,” Stuhr said. “He was one of the brightest guys I ever met in my life. His knowledge of history was remarkable — his knowledge of military affairs was the best of anyone I have ever known. He was the closest thing to a Renaissance man I have ever met.”