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Boy Scout Troop 428
(Branford, Connecticut)
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Troop 428 History - Howard Ballou

Troop 428 First Recharter

At 72 my memory is still pretty good. This photo was taken either 1968 or 1969. Quinnipiac Council should be able to verify. These are the greatest boys I ever had the pleasure of working with.

Registration Night I know I upset some parents & Council. I pioneered  the membership of mothers on the Committee. When announcing the formation of the troop I required each boy had to bring at least one parent to enroll, & the number of boys was set at 32. As each boy appeared, I told the parent(s) either the mother or father had to resister as a Committee Member & it didn't matter which one. The typical excuse I received was; "I don't have time." My response was, "If you don't have time for your son, why do you expect me to have time for him?" They were disgruntled, but we got our Committee, I dealt with Council accordingly, & our Committee did an outstanding job. Not long after we had a "Covered Dish Supper" in the church hall & it was a pleasant evening for all. Parents discovered they did have time & it was rewarding to be involved in their son's scouting life. I treasure these memories.


Having grown up in Branford, I loved parades; but it bothered me that the scouts were always at the end. In time I realized it was because they lacked training in marching & frankly did not make a good appearance. The troop was new & I had no desire to make our 32 boys march at the end. I talked to the boys & what followed was a one hour drill every Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of Tabor Lutheran Church. When they finally knew how to march & present themselves, I wrote a letter to who ever was parade marshal, explained things, informed him Troop 428 would not march at the end, & invited him to see the troop drill on a Sunday afternoon. He accepted. He was blown away by what he saw & I received a letter from him stating that Troop 428 would lead the second section. Needless to say, the boys, parents & myself were delighted. But we had more work to do.

The Sunday Drills continued, only this time I trained them in the command "Eyes Right" when passing the reviewing stand. With four patrols, we had four patrol flags & they became our Guide On Bearers (right side file position). I taught them a version of "The Queen Anne Salute". They were so sharp & proud of themselves.

The day of the parade, As we came to the Reviewing Stand & I gave the command "Eyes.....Right" - the Guide On Bearers tilted the patrol flags 90 degrees backward; and on the execution of "Right" they rotated their flags 540 degrees making a full forward circle plus 180 degrees to place their patrol flags in a forward position to "salute" the Reviewing Stand. As Scoutmaster I had to hand salute & look right to the Reviewing Stand & could see their perfect execution of the command.

Everyone was so proud, but we didn't know just how much we impressed our viewers until after the parade. I was approached by U.S.  Marine Captain Jack Curie (BHS Graduate) & he told me he had never seen an "Eyes Right" executed so perfectly; not even in the Marine Corps. Of course I relayed that to our boys & parents.

The history of the troop is so rich & it's the boys who produced it. I will continue to share with you as long as you wish. What 428 did in their first year, exceeded what many troops accomplish over several years. Of course that's just the opinion of their scoutmaster.


Eagle Scout w/Bronze Palm.

Troop 428 First Camporee

Having 32 boys & four patrols made equipment needs easy to determine. I made out the list of items the troop needed, then ran it before the Committee before acting on it. I'm guessing the total amount needed was around $1,200 including 4-tents, 4-patrol cook kits, axes, etc. It outfitted four patrols for camping out overnight. Our American Flag was donated by the Branford American Legion Post 83, the troop[ purchased it's Troop Flag which of course was a custom order.

How Money Was Raised: The back pages of Boy's Life listed various fund raising products. Regardless of products chosen, the supplier paid all expenses, including returns of items not sold. The troop received 40% of all sales & the products were all good quality. The 32 boys sold everything from greeting cards to candy. We had a break between fund raisers so we didn't wear out supporters. I took the amount needed, divided by 32 boys, & every boy had to sell that amount, No more, no less. That way the equipment purchased truly belonged to all the boys & no boy had to do more than his share. After purchase of the equipment & the first camping trip, it was inspiring to see the boys monitor each other for proper use & care of their equipment. Needless to say, no one was disappointed when fund raising was over.

The attachment, copied from the 40+ years in the Branford Review, is of Scoutmaster & friend Art Gage, Scoutmaster of Troop 425 (Branford) & myself following Troop 428 First Camporee.

How the boys prepared for their first Camporee. We had cook outs prior to their first camporee. I would not allow sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers or food in a can. They had to learn to cook from scratch. Needless to say their scoutmaster was not a source of joy at that time. Their first camporee was a DISTRICT Camporee, competing against several other experienced troops. The boys were nervous, so with learning how to cook from scratch, which was by patrols, which meant a cook team had to prepare a full menu for their entire patrol (8-boys) I had also to instill self-confidence. They were great learners all. At the camporee they learned more by visiting competing troops. One of our boys saw another troop "cooking" hot dogs. The boys were not rude, but I over heard one boy say; "Doesn't your scoutmaster teach you how to cook?" The more they saw, the more they learned. They also had Reflector ovens. I remember one patrol baking a great cake; another fresh biscuits. Children will learn whatever you are willing to take the time to teach them. "Hey guys; our scoutmaster has been teaching us how to be the best!" God love them.

Result of 3-Day Camporee that started on Friday night & ended Sunday afternoon with awards. It also includes a confession from me, which as far as I know, the boys never told about. Troop 428 the Rookie Troop in their first camporee took Second Place! Dave Hebert, our Scout Executive came to me on the QT & what he told me brought tears to my eyes. He said he wanted me to know that 428 would have taken First Place, except one of their many trips into troop camp sites for scoring, revealed a cooking fire had been left unattended in our camp. When he asked about the tears; I told him it was my cook fire & I was the one who left it unattended briefly; not one of the boys. I think Dave felt as bad as I did. He was a great Scout Executive. It's a good reminder that scoutmasters are human too. From that point forward, there was no stopping them. They had learned what discipline & team work can do.

God Bless,


was maybe a year behind me at BHS. We used to call him "Frogy" because of his deep frog-like voice. It was not out of disrespect, but out of love for this serious & honest member of BHS. Long before Troop 428 was formed. Roger & I belonged to Troop 1, Short Beach. If my memory serves me right, I was Roger's Senior Patrol Leader. We had a wonderful & dedicated scoutmaster; Bill Tucker. Roger was the epitome of the Scout Oath & Law. I don't know his enlistment date, but Roger enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He gained promotion to Sergeant & was deployed to Viet Nam. As a Marine Sgt, &  was in charge of platoons & patrols. His unit was ambushed by the VC (Viet Cong) & he was sent to St. Albans Naval Hospital in NY. It took a long time, but they put Roger back together again & returned him to duty in Nam. In WW II that was considered the "Golden Ticket Home". Our government changed the rules. I don't know how long Roger was back in Nam, when his unit was ambushed again. Back To St. Albans Naval Hospital & an additional putting together. I was appalled when after that long recovery, he was returned again to the front lines. In all fairness to our military & others; knowing Roger; he probably requested it, as not to abandon his men. When he returned, his unit was ambushed again & Roger was killed in action on August 2, 1967 in Viet Nam, on his 21st Birthday. I violated the Scout Law of "Brave" that night & got drunk. He was in a much better place, but the world lost a real leader & hero. I saw the Marine Honor Guard unload his metal casket in front of the Congregational Church in Branford; the church I grew up in. It remained "closed" for obvious reasons. My heart grew heavier. I attended the burial in Center Cemetery. They did not have a firing squad or Bugler. I believe this was out of request from his Mother. Believe me, if you think your "tough", don't ever attend a military funeral with Full Honors. It will test your metal.

For months I was driven to find a way to honor Branford's Fallen Hero, After the formation of Troop 428, it came to me. At the time I worked for Goodkind & O'Dea Consulting Engineers in Hamden. Frank Serafino was a fellow draftsman with our firm, who was a very talented artist. I furnished Frank a photo of our beloved Sgt. & asked him to do a charcoal sketch. When he finished, it was as though he copied it on a copy machine. Frank would not accept any money for it.

I finished the framed Tribute (In Photo Attachment) to Sgt. Poireier, & the Committee gave unanimous approval. The Outstanding Scout who received this award each year, also received expenses paid for one week at Camp Sequassen. My visit with Mrs. Vernal Warner Bates in Branford was most rewarding. Her late husband was one of the original Founders & promoters of Camp Sequassen, & who, for many years served the Boy Scouts of America in the finest tradition. She agreed to let the Foundation pay for the week each year in Camp Sequassen. The night the SGT. POIRIER AWARD was unveiled, His mother, Mrs. Leo Poirier & his younger brother Brian were present.

It hung on the Meeting Hall wall to give incentive to the 32 members of the troop to exemplify the Scout Oath & Law throughout the year.

At the end of the Branford Review write up, you will note reference to Troop 428 being congratulated by John H. Tweed, Fire Marshal of Branford; & Doinald E. Jackson, General Manager of the New Haven Water Company for fighting the fire at the Supply Pond. We were on a Saturday Cook Out, when one of the boys discovered a brush fire that could have resulted in serious consequences for Branford. None of the boys hesitated when I said; "Let's go, we've got a fire to put out."

You will also note that this new, inexperienced troop trained & provided Den Chiefs for the Cub Scouts Packs. No scoutmaster could ask for more, & certainly parents stood tall with their boys. God Bless them.

When I left for assignment in NJ, this framed plaque was still on the wall. I pray it remains a Troop 428 incentive to instill boys to strive for their very best as Scouts & Americans.

We also placed flowers on Roger's grave in Center Cemetery on Memorial Day with a Scout Honor Guard. The florist at the entrance to Center Cemetery on Montowese Street made the first arrangement of Yellow Mums & would not accept any payment for it. I believe it was Mr. Monroe; another Patriot.

First Recipient of The Sgt. Poirier Award:
Attached is the scaned Newspaper Clipping from the Branford Review, showing Steve Leiserson, the first recipient of The Sgt. Poirier Award. Steve was one of our junior leaders, & was one of six candidates competing for the award. As I recall, Committee Members & myself interviewed the six candidates, compared our notes & agreed on the selection. That is a BSA Trophy Steve has in his hand with his name engraved on it, the year, & "The Sgt. Poirier Award." in addition to a paid week at Camp Sequassen. His name was placed on the Award Plaque.


Original Neckerchief of Troop:
The original neckerchiefs were custom  cut & sewn. Following a discussion with the boys, a plaid type pattern with red white & blue was agreed upon. The cloth was purchased with troop funds. The boys liked the idea of having a neckerchief unlike other troops.

Building Fires Without Matches:
Before the second Saturday Cook Out at Branford Supply Pond, The troop had been taught starting a fire with Flint & Steel, and by the Indian Bow Method. At the second cook out, all patrol fires were started with out matches, using both these methods. They did well & displayed these methods at the District Camporee. To further thier fire building skills, each patrol started with one stout, seasoned log about two feet long. They had to get everything from that one log for their fire. That meant splitting the log & making different sizes of fire wood. Before starting, each fire had two green stakes on each side of their fire area. Two strings were tied between the two stakes. One at  12" above the ground. The fire wood could not be constructed beyond that string. The second string was 24" above the ground. It was a contest between patrols. Everyone started at the same time. No matches could be used. Which ever patrol split up their log, constructed the fire, started it without matches, & burned through the high string first, won. They were the best fire builders around. Learning how to use an ax & a hatchet safely, took place prior to this.

Scoutmasters Since 1968

HOWARD BALLOU (1968-1969)
ANDREW PARFITT (2008-2009)

Committee Chairpersons Since 1968


Eagle Projects Since 1980

1980 Jonathan Bogan: Redecorated a library room into a nursery at
St. Theresa Church in Stony Creek, Branford.

1981 Charles Simmons: Blazed at trail from the Stony Creek Quarry
to the Westwoods Trail System.

1981 John Conant: Repaired the gravel road, cut back brush leading
to Shepards Point at Killiam’s Pt. Branford, Ct.

1981 Hans Bergland: Rejuvenated and re-marked the Damascus
School Nature Trail.

1982 Chris Bogan: Planned and executed the planting of two
flower gardens at the front entrance of
St. Theresa Church in Stony Creek, Branford.

1982 John Hess: Repaired and improved the Stony Creek
Trolley Trail in Branford.

1983 Richard Hann: Collected, built and organized a complete
cross-indexed library for the Branford Manor
Convalescent Home.

1988 Milum Langella: Constructed a handicap ramp at New Haven
Elks Club in New Haven, Ct.

1988 Kevin Stoyak: Constructed a foot bridge on the Hammer
Property in Branford.

1989 Adam Groth: Built and installed 2 Osprey platforms
on Kelsey’s Island in Branford.

1991 Kenneth Sparks: Held a fund raiser and restored a house on
Bayberry Lane in Guilford, group was
nicknamed Tabor Labors.

1992 Matthew Farley: Organized a work party to clean, paint, and
do minor repairs to the East Shore Community
room in Short Beach, Branford.

1993 Clark Whitsett: Organized and carried out a survey of forest
land owned by the Regional Water Authority
for the purpose of determining if desirable
species of trees were growing back after

1993 Vincent Villella: Replaced one deteriorated wall, washed, primed,
and painted entire exterior of the V.F.W. Hall
in Branford.

1993 Rob Villella: Built a 43 foot handicap ramp at the V.F.W. Hall
in Branford.

1994 David Dunaj Jr. Painted eight cabins at Camp Cedarcrest in
New Haven, CT.

1994 Kevin Dickson: In cooperation with the Branford Fire Department
checked and mapped each fire hydrant in the Short
Beach area for condition and accessibility, and
checked each house in the area for numbers,
leaving notices at those houses without numbers
informing them of the town ordinance. The
purpose of the project was to aide the fire department
in the swift location of a fire and clear access to
the fire hydrants.

1994 David Zielinski: Located, stenciled and surveyed all of the storm
drains in the Short Beach, Branford area as an
environmental project for the University of
Connecticut, Marine Grant Research Program.

1995 Stanley Nitkowski: Researched dates and created a permanent
monument for Selectman Stones of the towns
of Branford, Guilford, and North Branford, and
placed them at a site along the Westwoods Trail
in Branford, Ct.

1995 James McGaffin: Provided Short Beach Civic Association with a
list of all street signs in their jurisdiction. Also,
provided Short Beach Civic Association and the
Branford Public Works with a list of all the signs
that were damaged, vandalized or covered.

1995 David Farley: Constructed a nature trail and outdoor classroom
at the Mary T. Murphy School in Branford, Ct.

1996 Aaron Rollo: Identified and painted 35 fire hydrants in the
Branford Hills and Short Beach areas of
Branford, Ct.

1996 Kevin McGinn: Painted and wallpapered meeting room,
painted kitchen and church interior,
removed sheetrock from downstairs walls,
and made minor repairs to outside of the
Short Beach Union Church in Branford, Ct.

1996 Timothy Gershon: Constructed a 30 Ft. wooden foot bridge
across marsh area at Killiam’s Point
Conference Center, Short Beach, Branford,
Connecticut sponsored by the First
Congregational Church of Branford and the
Branford Royal Grant Corporation.

1996 Michael Vessicchio: Built a sidewalk, landing and flower garden
at Trinity Church Rectory in Branford, Ct.

1997 Jeffrey Mason: Painted, repaired shed, installed ramp to storage
shed at East Shore Day Center , Short Beach,
Branford, Ct.

1997 Brian McGinn: Cleared and created a hiking/walking nature
path around Lidyhites Pond, Branford, Ct.

1997 Frank Donovan: Made repairs to and painted main meeting room
at the Killiam’s Point Conference Center in
Branford, Ct.

1998 Robert Denaro: Painted and made minor repairs to the main client
room at the East Shore Day Center in Branford, Ct.

1999 Thomas Piscatelli: Organized and carried out the beautification and
maintenance of the Thomas R. Romano Garden
Pathway at the East Shore Day Center in
Branford, Ct.

1999 Joseph Dunaj: Created picnic area and constructed tables and
benches at the East Haven Academy in East
Haven Ct.

1999 Wesley Jacobs: Painted room and installed a new ceiling to
establish a Hazmat- Decontamination room
at Branford Fire Headquarters in Branford, Ct.

1999 Eduardo Oyanedel: Repaired and painted kitchen at the Branford
Day Care Center in Branford, Ct.

1999 Wayne Pacileo: Constructed and erected an osprey nesting
platform and also constructed and installed
two benches in area to view birds at the
Killiam’s Point Conference Center in
Branford, Ct.

2000 Michael Linke: Constructed nature trail, and installed two benches
along trail at the Branford Day Care Center in
Branford, Ct.

2000 Brian Mason: Removed grass and soil, installed timbers around
perimeter, and spread approximately 34 yards of
sand in play area of Granite Bay Association Park
in Branford, CT.

2000 Mark Patrylak: Constructed a nature Trail at the Branford Day
Care Center in Branford, Ct.

2000 Christopher Marston: Repaired and Painted kitchen and engine room
walls at the Short Beach Hose, Hook and Ladder
Company 4, in Branford, CT.

2001 Andrew Rollo: Removed invasive plants from Branford Land
trust property in Stony Creek, Branford, Ct.

2001 Kenneth Eschrich: Planted 19 trees, set up watering schedule for
trees along the entrance and exit driveways of
St. Theresa Church, Branford, Ct.

2001 Anthony Annunziata: Renovated shower room at old East Haven High
into meeting room and storage room for the Sal
Tinari Basketball League in East Haven, Ct.

2001 Jacob Schell: Organized and ran a baseball clinic to raise funds
and purchased equipment for the Little League
in the Newhallville section of New Haven, Ct.

2002 Christian Pacileo: Cleared area and constructed benches for outdoor classroom and
viewing area, and repaired portion of nature trail at the Killiams
Point Conference Center in Branford, Ct.

2002 Andrew Simon: Renovated and painted lower level community room at the Christ
and Epiphany Church in East Haven, Ct.

2003 Brian Eschrich: Repaired and painted walls and ceiling, installed new tile floor at
faculty room of the Branford Day Care Center.

2003 Peter Cannon Jr.: Cleared trail, viewing area, and installed bench at Beacon Hill
in Branford, CT.

2003 Joseph Lucarelli: Rebuilt and refurbished 14 computers to be distributed to needy
students of the High School In The Community in New Haven, CT.

2003 William Farley: Organized and conducted a food drive, collecting over 5000 lbs.
of food for the East Haven Food Bank in East Haven, CT.

2004 Carl Denaro: Refinished interior of ceiling ,repaired and refinished soffit, painted
6 support columns to the Valerie Preiss Memorial Pavilion at
Pardee Park, Short Beach, CT.

2004 Ryan Murphy: Replaced and painted doors, sanded and painted storage shed at
St. Elizabeth Church in Branford, CT.

2004 Nicholas Grasso: Conducted a Blood Drive in conjunction with the American Red
Cross , in East Haven , Ct.

2004 Michael Tobey: Conducted a toy drive that benefited the patients of the
Pediatric/Oncology Associates P.C in Guilford, CT. The patients select a toy that is given to them when they have finished chemotherapy.

2004 Jesse Hurlburt: Cataloged and put on computer disc all veterans graves at the seven
cemeteries in Branford, CT. Copies to V.F.W., American Legion, Branford Historical Society, Blackstone Library.

2004 Seth Olson: Constructed and installed three 2 ft. x 15 ft. spectator benches at the
Flax Mill Soccer Field of the Branford Recreation Department in Branford, Ct.

2005 Matthew Davidson: Painted reception area, directors office, kitchen, bathroom and
built , painted and installed shelving in storage closet at the Daniel Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford, CT.

2010 Austin Day:  Designed and constructed permanant landscaped terraced seating for
Court #1 at the Branford High School Tennis Courts.  Two terraces, each 8 ft. x 20 ft in size, has a front timber bench edge and a lawn surface for sitting directly on the lawn or on lawn chairs.  The immediate hillside area was cleared of years of growth and seeded for additional lawn area.