Crippled Cranston Boy Inducted Into Scouts at Impressive Rites
Edward Winsor of Grace Street, Auburn, Borne to Hall on Stretcher Bed to Which He Has Been Confined for Three Years. Passes All Tests
By James H. Hogan
The Providence Journal, May 24, 1933
Edward Winsor of Grace street, Auburn, long has wished to be a Boy Scout but for years he has been unable to walk and for the last three years has been confined to a stretcher bed with weights holding his legs in place.
Last night, two weeks after he had passed the admission age of 12 years all obstacles were surmounted and he was dubbed a Tenderfoot by Troop 7, Cranston Boy Scouts, in an unusual ceremony.
Eddie’s stretcher bed was lifted into a truck and he was conveyed to Scout Headquarters at Eden Park Volunteer Fire Company and Improvement Association hall. In the rear of the hall, maintained by the association as a playground, Eddie’s wheel bed was placed where he could view the troop movements as the flag was saluted, drills were executed, and a tower was built. The signal corps of the troop ran out its reel set up a line and by telegraph transmitted a message that was handed to the recruit and tucked away under his blanket as a valued souvenir.
The importance of the ceremony was evidenced by the outturning of notables in Scout circles. Walter J. Crompton, Chairman of the Cranston Council; Henry S. Day, district commissioner; Luke Fallon, secretary and treasurer; Albert Bateman, assistant district commissioner; and Allen Strauss, a member of the executive board were present. Also there was a big delegation of the members of the organization that sponsors the troop.
The dubbing ceremony was held in the hall where the boy’s stretcher was placed close to the representation of a campfire. Al Kiefer, scoutmaster, and Edward King, assistant scoutmaster, were in charge. There were four candidates for the initial degree.
The scoutmaster, addressing the big audience of parents, said that for weeks patrols from the troop have been visiting the Windsor home. Eddie had been instructed in the Scout oath, the 12 Scout laws, history of the flag and rules for its care, as well as being taught to tie five different knots and to know for what purpose the knots were best suited.
The 10th law of the Boy Scouts that calls for “bravery” it was not necessary to teach because Eddie, in his game fight against a disease that cripples him, is an exemplification of that law.
Voice Heard Above Others
The candidates were obligated and Eddie pushed his blankets aside to raise his hand. His words could be heard above others in repeating the oath. He received his Scout pin. The gathering saw the almost helpless boy place it to his lips, before withdrawing it from sight under his blankets.
When he was “dubbed” there was a cheer from the troop members. Eddie did not attempt to withhold his tears. He was not alone in showing that the ceremony had been impressive.
The scoutmaster and troop committee were intent on entertaining their special guest and the Hill Billies, a musical organization connected with the troop, was called upon. Seated about the “camp fire” the dozen players of harmonicas, ukuleles and banjos presented a lively program. Kenneth Kiefer, son of the scoutmaster, too young to be a Scout, but holding the honored position of mascot, sang mountain songs and made a big hit.
The program closed with the Scouts saluting the national flag, and Eddie fulfilled his first Scout duty. All Scouts passed his bed to tell him they were glad he was one of them, and many parents fell into line to express admiration for his courage.
This article appeared in the May 24, 1933 issue of The Providence Journal. While the word ‘crippled’ may not be a ‘politically correct’ choice of words in today’s society, I did not want to change even one word in this article. Beautifully written – beautiful message – I just had to share with all of you.