Zamperini: ‘The first good thing that happened to me was Scouting’

Yesterday, Gretchen posted a fascinating look at how skills learned in Scouting probably saved Unbroken hero Louis Zamperini’s life.

Today comes more proof of the positive impact Scouting had on Zamperini, an Olympian, prisoner-of-war survivor and general inspiration to us all.

In January 2011, Chuck Bird, a committee chairman in California, sent Zamperini a birthday card.

“I sent him a card not expecting anything in return,” Bird says. “Shortly thereafter I received a nice note from him in his handwriting thanking me for remembering his birthday.”

Zamperini’s response came on Feb. 16, 2011:

Hi, Chuck,

Thank you for the birthday greeting. The first good thing that happened to me was Scouting.


Louis Zamperini


In a few words, the hero says a lot. He had a rough, chaotic childhood, and Scouting channeled his energies in a positive way.

More proof of the power of Scouting to change someone’s life for the better.


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Bryan on Scouting

Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the senior editor of Scouting and Eagles' Call magazines. You can read more of his posts at