President George W. Bush
Recently, an article about the launch of my book in May appeared in The Tribune, a newspaper serving Lawrence County and the city of Ironton, Ohio. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from a stranger, Mr. Shaffer, who provided his telephone number and a message that he had som…ething to tell me about B-17 pilot Raymond Stephenson and his father.
I called Mr. Shaffer and sensed he was an older gentleman. He told me he read about She Called Him Raymond in The Tribune, and although he was a few years younger than Raymond (who would be 94 if alive), Mr. Shaffer belonged to the same Boy Scout troop. Raymond’s father, Clarence, was the Scoutmaster of their troop and Mr. Shaffer’s father and Mr. Stephenson were friends. I shared with him I was honored to receive the Good Scout Award on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts.
Mr. Shaffer recounted stories from his experiences as a scout when he was a youngster. He asked if I ever visited the Boy Scout camp in Ironton. I hadn’t, but said I planned another trip to Ironton later this year for a presentation and book signing.
“Ray, how about when you come out here we go to the camp?”
“I would be happy to join you, Mr. Shaffer.”
“A while back,” he continued, “some developers wanted to shut down the camp and build houses on it. Me and some of the other old timers weren’t havin’ it. We fought it and the camp is still here.”
“You won’t believe this,” I countered, “but, my town has a beautiful, historic Scout camp, Camp Saratoga. Some folks wanted to develop that property years ago and we weren’t havin’ it either.”
“No kidding? Well then, you and me will have to pal around and talk about the Scouts when you come out. You can stay at my house.”
I’m not sure that I’ll make myself a burden on Mr. Shaffer and his family while I’m in Ohio. However, when we pal around and tour the Boy Scout camp, I’m sure I’ll discover that he is like many gentlemen that Scouting has helped mold. The kind of men that President George W. Bush described above, and of which President Theodore Roosevelt said are men of strength, character and devotion to country. Men like B-17 pilot Raymond Stephenson and his World War I veteran father.
Photo, 1934: Raymond Stephenson is seated, second from right. Standing center is Clarence R. Stephenson, Sr.