The incredible Senior Klondike Team that won Third Prize in January of 1971, in a field of well over 50 klondike teams. From left to right: Richard Mabey Jr., Peter Holler, Bill Small, Siegfried Jansen, David Small, Donald Obenhuber and George Yost.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In January of 1971, at the age of 17, miracles began to come to me in great abundance. Specifically in that moment in time, in the dawning of 1971, blessings befell upon me. It was as if the angels in Heaven gently touched me and my life began changing in such a new and wonderful way and in a powerfully positive direction.
It was in January of 1971 that I saw my dream come true of making Eagle Scout. I was the most unlikely candidate of all the scouts my age, to earn the highest rank in scouting. There were incredible barricades that challenged the very fiber and weave of my inner being. Having had a most serious bout of rheumatic fever at the age of 12, I wasn’t as strong as the other boys. For one full year of my life, my feet never touched the ground. I was in and out of several long-stays in the hospital. It’s still painful to admit, I wasn’t as athletic as my fellow scouts who were my age. The merit badges such as Personal Fitness, Swimming and Lifesaving took all my focus, dedication, concentration and inner strength to successfully complete.
The essential key to becoming an Eagle Scout, for me, is that I prayed each and every night for the good Lord to help me and guide me toward reaching my goal of earning scouting’s highest rank. Even when I was lying in the hospital, at the age of 12, I dreamt of being an Eagle Scout. Lying in my hospital bed, staring at the ceiling, I would close my eyes and pray and pray for the good Lord to heal me and give me the strength to meet the challenge.
By the grace of the good Lord, I became an Eagle Scout in December of 1970. Then, during that same time, the Committee of Boy Scout Troop 170 appointed me to be the Captain of the Senior Klondike Team. I was blessed to be the Captain of an incredibly great Klondike Team. My fellow scouts who made up that Senior Klondike Team were: Peter Holler, Bill Small, Siegfried Jansen, David Small, Donald Obenhuber, George Yost and myself. The scouts of that Senior Klondike Team worked furiously to get into shape, both physically and mentally, for the incredible challenge.
We won Third Prize that year. It was an amazing accomplishment. This was the during the hey day of the baby boom era. There were easily over 50 Senior Klondike Teams competing that Sunday morning in early January of 1971. Still today, I look back and feel an incredible pride abiding in my heart, for how hard my fellow scouts worked to earn third place in a field of over 50 klondike teams.
I have to confess that during my years in high school, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself. I wasn’t that good at sports. I didn’t have the strength and coordination that my buddies had. My bout with rheumatic fever had, to some degree, done some damage to my heart. I took some ribbing from some of my best friends in high school, about being in my senior year and still being active in scouts. But, then, what did they know.
Over 40 years have come and gone, since that magical time at the dawn of 1971 from whence I became an Eagle Scout and led one of the greatest Senior Klondike Teams in all of scouting. Not with a prideful heart do I write of this milestone. But rather, of a humble heart, in endearing gratitude to the good Lord for giving me such loving guidance to find avenues, through scouting, to gain confidence and inner strength to walk the hallway to the room of being a good and honest man.
Peace and harmony,