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When the Chronicle received notice of Harold “Kitty” Wilson being recognized for 50 years service to youths through Scouting, I asked for the privilege of writing the announcement. I have four sons and a son-in-law whose lives have been influenced by the “Cat” in a positive way.

Kitty was raised in neighboring Gilmer County, near the present Recreation Center. He walked six miles to work to hoe corn or stack hay. His pay was 10 cents for 10 hours of work. This is unbelievable unless you know him. He and his brother, Arnie, also cleared trees for “the Hope.” The trees were falling fast, but Hope superintendent George Rampp (my father) didn’t see any heavy equipment. When he found out that the two Wilson brothers provided the manpower, he decided that the company should hire them.

Kitty had his first Scout troop at Alum Bridge. He then moved to Weston, where he continued his work with Scouting. When the gas company sent him to Calhoun County, he revived the interest of boys in the Grantsville area, and has been the leader of Troop 39 for 38 years. His wife Jeanne, son Mike and daughter Barbara have also been involved in Scouting.

He remembers a young man, in trouble with the law, who was one of his boys. When he appeared with him in court, the young man said that Mr. Wilson was the only one who ever believed in him. The judge pulled him aside later and said, “There ought to be more people like you.” This young man turned out to be a successful, law abiding citizen.

Troop 39 has a record number of boys who have attained the rank of Eagle Scout, with two generations from some families. Some of Kitty’s former Scouts are now in the fields of medicine, law, geology, education, insurance, real estate, building, maintenance, small business administration, and government. He considers all of them to be responsible adults.

There are 15 men on the adult list of the troop. In his 50 years as a leader, no one was hurt, lost or drowned. The troop owns their canoes, life jackets, and new tents. They have never sold products for fund raising, but have earned their money through work projects. Camping is a major part of their program, even in sub zero weather.

Scoutmaster Wilson, 83, is turning the leadership over to Randy Ball, but he will remain with the troop as assistant leader. He still plays golf several times a week to keep fit. The Wilsons have nine grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren who benefit from the Wilsons’ patience, love and caring.

Calhoun County thanks Kitty Wilson for his influence on the lives of our children.

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