Last month, the efforts of Liberty Boy Scout Troop 320 and Gladstone Boy Scout Troop 180 were recognized by U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, Clay County Presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte, Liberty Mayor Lyndell Brenton and others. The large group of scouts received an emergency preparedness merit badge for their efforts.

Since November, the Liberty troop has sorted and delivered personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies to Clay County early childhood educational providers. The Gladstone troop joined in the efforts. The troops offered around 340 hours of assistance.

The assistance from the troops began after a biweekly Community Organizations Active in Disasters virtual meeting. Those on the call know Clay County Public Health Center’s staff is decisively engaged in testing, contact tracing and vaccine distribution planning for COVID-19, meaning volunteers were the only solution to help get PPE in the hands of workers who need it most.

Among the requests from child care providers were hand sanitizer, gloves, digital thermometers, face shields, cleaning wipes and diapers.

Dan Reece, whose sons are part of the Liberty troop, is a volunteer with Clay County Emergency Management. He presented a slide presentation to scouts with details provided from the Family Conservancy, Heart to Heart International and Clay County Public Health Center that explained the needs of child care facilities and workers.

Under their mission, scouts have been able to work on their emergency preparedness and citizenship merit badges.

“Being part of the emergency preparedness group, we have been relying on volunteers to help fill in those extra needs,” Reece explained. “The public health center is swamped, but this opportunity has been a blessing.”

Reece said the experience has been an eye-opener.

“The estimations are something like reaching 1,915 Clay County children who receive early childhood education,” he said. “This includes helping more than 300 essential workers.”

Brenton said he appreciates the local troops’ service and leadership.

Graves, via a video call, told the scouts their acts of service are commendable.

“Your acts of volunteering are part of being constructive citizens,” he said.

After the badge presentation and the words of praise last month, the two troops once more divided a variety of PPE at a North Kansas City warehouse for delivery.

“We roughly did this every month,” said Staley High soon-to-be sophomore Kenton Unruh, who is a scout in Troop 180, which meets in Gladstone. “We stepped up and helped places that getting PPE is difficult. We made sure they got the things they need. Think about the hours the child care places are open. Some of these places are in super early and get out late.”

Liberty Middle School soon-to-be eighth-grader Kaleb Miller said he likes to get out and help as part of scouts.

“They felt the emergency, too,” he said. “We were able to meet their needs.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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