Mr. Jack Floyd Sr., left, repairing one of the many latrines at Boy Scout Camp Allamuchy in New Jersey. Helping him is another volunteer scout leader. Photo taken in 1966.
My Tribute to Jack Floyd Sr.
By Richard Mabey Jr.
In writing my tribute to the late Jack Floyd Sr., the question burned in my heart and mind: where do I even begin to attest to the greatness of this gentleman? Jack served as an Assistant Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 170 for 25 years, from 1963 to 1988. He was a wonderful man, he had a kind heart and he loved scouting.
I was going through the many photos that my dad had of Jack, through the years. There were some photos where Jack was hiking or camping with the scouts. There were some where Jack looked so very dashing in his suit and tie, accompanied by his wife Lee, which were taken at one of the big district or council annual dinner events. But when it came down to it all, I needed to find a photo that illustrated the true heart of what a truly great man that Jack Floyd Sr. was.
Choosing a photo of Jack repairing a latrine at Boy Scout Camp Allamuchy was not meant to be disrespectful in any way at all. Rather, to me, it was the perfect photo to act as a testament to the great love that Jack had for the scouting movement. The fact of the matter is that Jack was not afraid to roll up his sleeves, to get his hands dirty, to work hard on a hot summer’s day in order to do his part to see to it that boys had the chance to enjoy hiking and camping in scouting.
My dad served as Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 170 for 28 years, from 1966 to 1994. Dad often referred to Jack as “the rock of 170.” Jack was incredibly loyal, dedicated, and such a hard worker. Jack was a draftsman by trade. But, he was also a very talented artist. Jack designed and created all of the large camp entrance ways for Troop 170. Jack played a big role in designing the art work for the yellow Troop 170 scout neckerchief.
Jack also designed dozens upon dozens of Boy Scout patches for Klondike Derbies, Camporees, School Rallies, and other scouting events for the Boonton District and for the entire Morris-Sussex Area Council. Many of these scout patches were of such a fine design that the big wheels at the National Boy Scout Headquarters, which was then located at New Brunswick, NJ, chose them to be available to all scout districts and scout councils throughout the United States.
Jack was offered financial compensation for the patches that went national. But, true to Jack’s love for scouting, Jack simply told the top scout executives to put his commission funds back into scouting. That’s just the kind of man that Jack Floyd Sr. was.
Jack Floyd Sr. did his good deeds in secrecy. He was a rather quiet gentleman, you might even say he was a bit shy. Jack didn’t like receiving recognition for all the good things he did for scouting.
About four or five times a year, Jack would telephone my Dad in the middle of the week. “Hey Dick, what’s say you and I go up to camp this weekend and do some work on the camp.” Dad would agree with Jack that there were some projects at Camp Allamuchy that needed work on. And so, after the Friday night scout meeting, Dad and Jack would ride off to Camp Allamuchy to begin a weekend of hard work.
Dad and Jack would stay over at the Camp Office. They accomplished a lot of good things, during those weekend marathons. A lot of good things. I had the honor to go along with Dad and Jack on several of those camp work weekends. There are not words to convey how hard those two dear men worked, to see that the boys had a first-class camp to come to.
And now we come to the crux of the photo that I chose for this essay. Yes, Dad, Jack and I worked on cleaning and fixing up a lot of the old latrines at Camp Allamuchy. What always amazed me was the joy and splendor and good sense of humor that Jack carried with him when we all work on cleaning and repairing the latrines.
Not to be gross, but I remember on those hot summer Saturdays, the flies would be swarming all about the inside of the latrine. You ended up regretting not bringing a gas mask with you. Jack would simply take a puff from his pipe, kind of lean back, and say to Dad, “Dick, they got some healthy kids in scouts.” Dad and I would laugh. Then Jack would laugh. It was the just way Jack said things that made it so funny.
Jack Floyd Sr. was a veteran of the Second World War. He was a true American hero. He saw a lot front line action and endured being in harm’s way, much of the time throughout his Army hitch. Jack went to his grave with fragments of shrapnel in his back from being too close to a grenade explosion. One time Jack reflected, while sitting at a campfire while talking to the other scout leaders, “if I had been a few feet closer to that explosion, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”
Jack received the District Award of Merit and the Silver Beaver Award. The Silver Beaver Award is the highest award that an adult scout leader can earn in scouting.
Jack was a good man. He was a devoted family man. He loved scouting. And, I miss him very much.
With great respect,