‘A fitting memorial’

Larry’s Boat House dedicated at Camp Hiawatha

Donna Cole talks to the Scouts at “Larry’s Boat House” dedication to her dad. Camp Hiawatha Director Erick Kestila is to her right and Spring Camporee Chair Mark Rose is seated at the left. (Photo courtesy of Dewey Jones)

A very memorable part of the recent District Spring Camporee at Camp Hiawatha was the dedication of Larry’s Boat House, the new waterfront building named in honor of the late Lawrence B Farnum, Col. Ret. Army Corps of Engineers. The building makes possible the indoor storage of all the aquatics equipment year round and enhances the staff’s ability to provide instruction during the Summer Camp season.

Larry’s daughter Donna Cole, her husband Tom, and son David, represented the family at the dedication. She stated that the family considered this gift a most fitting memorial as her dad was an Eagle Scout and lifetime supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. In his youth, he worked on the waterfront at Camp Rotary in Lower Michigan and Donna’s two sons worked on the waterfront at Camp Hiawatha. Larry had camped at the camp one week when his grandsons worked there in the late 1990s.

Col. Farnum had a storied military career that began after he graduated from the Michigan School of Mines (now Michigan Technological University) in Mining Engineering. After working in mining a few years, he joined the Army Air Force then transferred to the Corps of Engineers. His service included World War II including the Philippines and occupation of Japan, Korea during its early phases, and Vietnam overseeing major engineering projects. He also had high level assignments in Turkey and Iran prior to the removal of the Shah.

He credited his Boy Scout training with saving his life and the lives of 300 men of whom he assumed command during the fierce Chinese counterattack in Korea in November, 1950. After the senior leadership of his 900 person battalion were captured or killed, he led the 300 survivors around an ambush in a valley navigating by the stars as he had learned in Scouting.

During their 47-mile hike over 17 hours in freezing cold, about the only sustenance the troops had were lifesaver candies.

Donna Cole holds her dad’s Eagle Scout pin which was presented to him at the 1937 National Jamboree by the BSA National Commissioner Dan Beard. On the left is Erick Kestila and to the right of Donna are her husband Tom and son David. (Photo courtesy of Dewey Jones)

At the dedication, Donna presented a roll of lifesavers to each Scout to remember the lifesaving and leadership skills taught in Scouting and the heroism and sacrifice of our ancestors.


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