Scouts meet, greet to mark 70 years

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 9, 2004

C.W. “Bud” Tacke, right, can’t help but laugh when one of his former Scouts, Joey DiRago, asks him, “Now what’s your name again?” Seated next to Tacke is current Scoutmaster Greg Evans.(Melanie Duncan Thortis The Vicksburg Post)

[2/9/04]Twin brothers Christopher and Robert Sanders are enjoying their second year as Cub Scouts, while their father, David Sanders, is their den leader.

Their grandfather John Cole Sr. has been involved with troops in Vicksburg since 1967.

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Along with more than 220 others, the Sanders and Cole families attended Sunday’s 70th birthday luncheon for Troop 7 at the Knights of Columbus Council 898 building.

Cole began his years as a Boy Scout in South Carolina in 1942 and then served two years with another troop when he moved to Vicksburg in 1967. His son, John Cole Jr., joined Troop 7 in 1969.

John Cole Sr. moved up the ranks, serving as assistant Scoutmaster, serving on the troop committee and becoming chairman of the troop committee.

He went on to serve at the district level as well and has encouraged his grandchildren to be Boy Scouts.

“I can’t think of a better organization for an adult to spend his time,” he said. “It meant very much to me when I was a Scout. My parents gave me a good start.”

Cole’s son-in-law, David Sanders, agreed.

“I think it gives a great foundation for later in life,” Sanders said. After naming some of the skills boys can learn through scouting including leadership, academic and survival, he said, “It just broadens their horizons.”

Chris Sanders, 7, said he likes scouting because of the activities, particularly getting to visit the Russell C. Davis Planetarium in Jackson.

His brother, Robert Sanders, said camping is his favorite activity.

“Getting to cook is the best thing about camping,” he said.

The celebration included Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church, doughnuts and coffee and a luncheon and ceremony and many tributes to the troop’s founder and leader for 50 years, C.W. “Bud” Tacke.

Tacke, 96, founded Troop 7 in February 1934 after moving here from Missouri.

John Banchetti, 67, is a Vicksburg native who drove 350 miles from his home in Coriscana, Texas, to show appreciation for the camaraderie and the friendship the troop provided him as a youngster. He was a Scout from 1949 to 1955.

When asked who his leader was, he replied with a laugh, “Mr. Bud the only one.”

“He’s a good guy,” he said. “The type of person that instilled confidence and patriotism in us. He made us be aware that we could do things we didn’t think we could do.”

Banchetti said he was thankful.

“I wouldn’t be doing some of the things I did in my life,” said Banchetti, a retired engineer. “This troop has been like a guiding light.”

Banchetti’s younger brother, Paul Banchetti, who lives in Vicksburg, also attended the event as a way to honor Tacke.

“He is one of the main reasons I remained in scouting,” Paul Banchetti, 53, said. “Him, and, of course, my parents.”

Banchetti was a Scout from 1962 to 1966, and one of about 2,200 who have joined since the troop’s founding.

Tacke retired as Scoutmaster in 1984, and Johnny “Mo” Nassour served for the next 16 years. Greg Evans is now Scoutmaster.

Over the years, the troop built and maintains Camp Wilkerson off Boy Scout Road, has monthly campouts, takes canoeing trips and hikes the Vicksburg National Military Park each year.