101-Year-Old Eagle Donates His Scouting Treasures

Waterdown Scout Donation
Burke shares his Scouting story with Austin and Montrois. (Photo credit: Stephen Swofford/ The Watertown Daily Times)

Scouts at the Longhouse Council received a historic gift last week when 101-year-old Eagle Scout Bernard W. Burke donated his Scouting memorabilia to the William Hillcourt Scout Museum in Constantia, New York.

The Watertown Daily Times and The Daily News Online recount how this former Scout’s giving spirit is leaving a legacy in his community.

Lise T. Montrois, Burke’s daughter, was looking for a beneficiary for her father’s Scout gear when she discovered the volunteer-operated museum and decided to give them a call. Before long, the Scouting alumnus was sharing his story with the museum’s staff.

The story of Burke’s path to Eagle Scout, accentuated by relics from his youth, struck a chord with the museum’s operators.  After careful discussion, Burke presented years worth of Scouting memorabilia to Stephen M. Austin, chairman of the board of the museum and John Binkowski, the museum’s archive curator.

Burke's memorabilia will be featured at the Longhouse Council's William Hillcourt Scout Museum. (Photo credit: Stephen Austin/ The Daily News Online)
Burke’s items will be featured at the Longhouse Council’s William Hillcourt Scout Museum. (Photo credit: Stephen Austin/ The Daily News Online)

Austin said the patches, medals, and Burke’s other items had been kept in an impressive condition, according to The Watertown Daily Times. In fact, Burke’s Scouting treasures will soon be a centerpiece for the museum, illustrating his journey to Eagle Scout in the 1920s and 30s.

The museum, named after BSA’s William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and Burke’s donation makes the perfect birthday gift.

“We’re fortunate that we had some far-thinking individuals 25 years ago who formed the museum. It started small, but it’s grown over the years,” Austin shared with The Daily News Online.

Scout troops are regular visitors of the museum and they’re sure to enjoy a glimpse into what earning Eagle was like nearly ninety years ago.

Read more about Bernard Burke’s gift to Scouting in the stories by The Watertown Daily Times and The Daily News.


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Rochelle Randles is a communications specialist at the Boy Scouts of America. She enjoys sharing incredible adventure stories within the Scouting community and beyond. If you have story ideas or questions, reach out to us at