When the Boy Scouts and a Lions club team up to help the United States Navy cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, no sailor is left without help. Through fundraising efforts, the groups sent hygienic supplies to personnel aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt.
The idea sparked when Merrick native Davida Luehrs’s daughter, Jessica Schmidt, a Navy lieutenant currently serving in a marine medical battalion, was deployed to Guam to assist her fellow sailors. Through text messages with her mother, Schmidt expressed sympathy for the service members who were fighting against the outbreak in Guam.
When Luehrs told her brother, Doug Davis, about his niece’s whereabouts, he knew he had to spring to action. As the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 351 in Merrick, Davis began to search for a way to get the sailors the hygienic supplies they were lacking.
“One of the points of the Scout oath is to help other people at all times,” Davis said. “We realized asking people to donate hygiene items at the beginning of the pandemic might be tough to do, so we asked for monetary donations in lieu of that.”
Luckily, when the question as to where the Scouts would get bulk items came up, there was a connection was close by. Troop 351 Assistant Scoutmaster Tom Simmons connected with Ben Lido, a member of Troop 123 in Merrick and owner of Convenience Kits International, to supply hygiene kits.
“I connected Doug with Ben and it just exploded from there,” Simmons said.
The Scouts teamed up with Luehrs’s Northern Virginia Lions Club to raise more than $6,000 for the effort, which was “a lot of money to play with,” Davis said. As a result, more than 100 cases of hygiene kits, which includes sanitizing solutions and body washes, were sent to the USS Roosevelt.
“I should have realized that the minute I got the word out that the response would be amazing,” Luehrs added.
“Greetings from Guam,” wrote Commander Tom Pickering in a letter to the fundraisers. “While in isolation because of the Covid-19 virus and assigned to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, I received a care package with much needed daily essentials. Too many of these items can be overlooked and, to some, even tossed aside. Please let me assure you that your wonderful gift and gesture went a long way.”
“We aim to do good daily,” said Davis, citing the slogan of the Boy Scouts. “We set the example to service others in need.”