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Donation is on target
Springfield UMC men donate rifles to Scouts
guns 1
Frank Patterson, far left, presents firearms donated by the Springfield United Methodist Church mens group to Boy Scouts Executive CEO Tom Cardiff, Twin Rivers District Executive Will Britt and District Chairman Patrick Finley. - photo by Photo by Paul Floeckher

The men of Springfield United Methodist Church paid tribute to their fathers while making a contribution to local Boy Scouts.

The Springfield UMC men’s group donated 12 guns to the Boy Scouts’ Twin Rivers District, which includes Effingham County. Scouts will use the firearms in the shooting sports program at the Boy Scouts’ Black Creek Scout Reservation in nearby Sylvania.

“We have a $5 million facility 30 minutes up the road that’s a very fine Scout camp,” said project organizer Frank Patterson. “The more high-quality things we could put there, the more the kids will enjoy it.”

Gun safety is the primary focus of the Boy Scouts’ shooting sports program. Also, Scouts can earn a merit badge for demonstrating accuracy on the shooting range.

“They get their merit badge for shooting 10 groups of 10 (targets) that are smaller than a quarter. That’s pretty accurate,” said Patterson, who is the Twin Rivers District commissioner, as well as a member of the Springfield United Methodist Men.

The men’s group approved Patterson’s idea for the fundraiser, and several members made donations in recognition of their fathers or others in the community. The project was dubbed Firearms for Father’s Day “in honor of these men who made a difference in the lives of others,” Patterson said.

The group raised $5,000, enough to purchase a dozen firearms — 10 Olympic-grade .22-caliber rifles and two shotguns — for the Scout camp. The donation was made in time for summer campers to use the guns at Black Creek Scout Reservation.

“We can raise money to go in the (Boy Scouts’) general fund where they make payroll, or we can raise money and buy something nice that he kids will get a lot of enjoyment out of,” Patterson said.

Beefing up the shooting sports program is one of the upgrades being made to the Scout camp in Sylvania. Another will be to install a zip line across the camp’s lake.

“These next couple years, we’re going to be making more additions to that camp, and we’ll have one of the nicest camps in all of south Georgia,” said Scout Executive CEO Tom Cardiff. “Our kids will be really proud of it.”

David Wegmann, president of the Springfield United Methodist men’s group, said the fundraiser for the Boy Scouts “tugs on (his) heart strings.” Unlike his father, who was an Eagle Scout, Wegmann did not stick with the organization in his youth.

“That’s been kind of an empty spot in my life,” he said, “but I was tickled to death when Frank mentioned what he was going to present to the men and what he was going to work toward for Scouting.”