Walter Winius Jr.’s voice rose with excitement as he retold the story…
The year was 1961; he had started a Boy Scout Troop in Arizona with high hopes of instilling in young men the same values he had learned while earning his Eagle Scout ranking when he was young. The Troop’s start was tenuous, however, as the area had many families in transition and the need to raise money for Scout activities, uniforms and the like was a constant concern.
It Started With A Handshake
A year later, in 1962, the solution to his worries about financing his new troop’s adventures came in the form of a gentleman knocking on his front door. The man introduced himself as Al and said he represented Sherwood Forest Farms, a fundraising company specializing in holiday greenery. Walter spoke with Al and was intrigued by the idea. His troops would sell wreaths and other greenery to members of the community, and Sherwood Forest Farms would ship the products to his Troop to be distributed. But neither Al nor Walter were completely convinced of the others trustworthiness. Would this partnership work out, or would one party end up getting the short end of the stick? Walter’s Troop was new, with no apparent credit history to speak of. And Al’s company, this “Sherwood Forest Farms”, was fairly new itself and, as far as Walter knew, lacked any real credibility. They would start their relationship on a handshake and hope.
The Rewards Of Persistence
Well, that was 52 years ago now and, although Walter and Al are retired, they would certainly agree that this partnership has created a long-standing legacy that has helped thousands of young men in Arizona participate in learning the fundamental values that the Boy Scouts are all about. Shortly after his Troop started fundraising with Sherwood, Walter and a friend initiated a scholarship program. With a portion of the proceeds from their wreath fundraising, they helped less fortunate boys to become Boy Scouts, footing the bill for uniforms and other costs associated with participation. To date, the Troop that Walter created in 1962 has produced 245 Eagle Scouts, Walter’s son among them. Without doubt, these men are now an integral part of their communities. And, who knows, perhaps there is a Walter Winius Jr. among them that will reach out and touch young men’s lives in a way that will help us all.
Our Commitment Continues
In 2014, we find ourselves 52 years removed from the encouraging knock on Walter’s front door, and the Troop Walter chartered continues their partnership with Sherwood. In our 60th year of operation we continue to offer our evergreens to groups around the nation, and we find all it takes is a small commitment, a handshake, and a little hope.