A group of south Forsyth Boy Scouts have been perturbed about their stolen equipment for weeks, but the 28 boys got great news – twice – over the weekend.
Staff at Snellville’s Gander Mountain caught wind of the theft in Buford earlier this month that left Boy Scout Troop 1109 without $10,000 worth of camping equipment or a storage trailer.
Saturday, the store presented the troop and Scoutmaster Tom Gillon with replacement equipment. Shortly after, the troop’s local Academy Sports + Outdoors in Cumming donated a $5,000 gift card for future camping trips.
“We heard about the misfortune of Boy Scout Troop 1109 on the nightly news earlier this month, and it really struck a chord with our team,” said Eldrich Granger, Gander Mountain store manager. "We were able to identify the gear that was stolen from the kids and surprise them with brand new equipment for all four of their patrols.”
Gander would not confirm the value of their donation to the troop, but Gillon estimates the new equipment, which includes stoves, pop-up tents, cutting tools and other camping items is worth about $3,000.
The generosity of both Gander and Academy Sports couldn’t have come at a better time, Gillon said.
This weekend, the troop is set for its first camping trip since the theft. Gillon and the Scouts had collected money for the equipment through personal donations, car washes and popcorn sales before thieves wiped them out earlier this month.
“The support was not just extremely generous but extremely timely,” he said. “I think the boys have learned a hard lesson about the bad things that happen to people sometimes. What these stores and other troops across the area have shown them is the good side of people. I think it's an important lesson."
Boy Scout Troop 1109 now has a storage unit in Cumming for their new equipment, Gillon said. Academy Sports could not be reached for comment, but Gillon said the store's gift card will help replace nearly all the stolen equipment.