By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — He’s spent almost his entire life in Scouting and credits it with helping to keep him young.
Tonight, longtime Boy Scout troop leader Ron Fuller will be feted as the Yankee Clipper Council’s Eagle Scout Class of 2012 honoree at the organization’s annual Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner.
Fuller, who earned his Eagle Award in 1963 and Bronze Palm in 1964, is being honored for his outstanding contributions to the organization and his 42 years of service as Scoutmaster for Amesbury’s Troop 4 — the same troop he himself joined as a young boy — dating back to 1970.
“When I graduated from college, I came back to Amesbury and took over my old Scout troop right after I got married,” said Fuller, the owner of W.E. Fuller Co. in downtown Amesbury. “And I’ve been here ever since.”
Over the course of his illustrious career, Fuller has been a Scoutmaster to 57 Eagle Scouts and mentored 16 Scouts for their religious awards. In 2003, he was named National Scoutmaster of the Year. He is also a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor an adult involved in Scouting can receive, in addition to the District Award of Merit, National Eagle Scout Association Scoutmaster Award of Merit and the Good Shepherd Religious Award.
Scouting has been a part of Fuller’s family since the Boy Scouts first came to Amesbury in the early 20th century. When the Boy Scouts first tried to set up a council in town, they were told they would need a corporate sponsor. The Amesbury Rotary Club stepped forward to fill that role.
As it turned out, Fuller recently learned his grandfather, Walter, was one of the Rotary Club’s leaders at the time who helped get the ball rolling. Fuller discovered the family connection in recent years after obtaining the original document detailing the sponsorship.
Collecting Eagle Scout memorabilia is something of a hobby for Fuller, and he speculated that it might have been one of the reasons why he was chosen as the Class of 2012 honoree. He said he always brings memorabilia with him to the dinners and that he’s something of a Boy Scout historian.
In addition to the original council sponsorship document, Fuller said he also has some old promotional materials from his family’s store that show W.E. Fuller Co. has been selling Scouting equipment since the Scouts’ earliest days.
W.E. Fuller Co. dates back to 1894, when Fuller’s great-grandfather, Warren Edward, first opened the shop. The store has been a landmark in Amesbury for decades, and it serves as the primary supplier for Boy Scout uniforms, badges and gear to this day.
“We’re probably one of the oldest, if not the oldest, store that is still selling Boy Scout stuff in the same store by the same family,” Fuller said. “We’ve been selling Scouting equipment as far back as 1915.”
Fuller’s son, Todd, carried on the Scouting tradition in the family, earning his Eagle Award as well. Fuller and his wife, Ruth Anne, also have two daughters, Tori and Teale, as well as two grandchildren, one of whom is a Tiger Cub.
Tonight’s Eagle Scout Recognition Dinner at the Wyndham Andover is a chance to collectively honor all 188 of the new Eagle Scouts in the region, They include five from Amesbury — four of whom hail from Fuller’s Troop 4.
Fuller said he is excited for the recognition, but it’s the love of Scouting that drives him. He said he always looks forward to his weekly troop meetings every Tuesday night and that it’s one of the things that keeps him young. Everything else is just a nice bonus, he said.