oy Scout Troop 503 celebrated 40 years on Feb. 16 with many of the Eagle Scouts, current Scouts and families attending. Also in attendance were State Senator Tom Tiffany, Merrill Mayor William Bialecki, Samoset Council Executive Paul Tikalski, and VFW Post 1638 Charter Representative Dennis Berndt. In addition, Congressman Sean Duffy sent a letter that was read during the ceremony.
In 1973, Milt Sukow had a vision for the youth of Merrill and the surrounding area: a vision of Character, Citizenship and Fitness. Sukow decided to start Boy Scout Troop 303, and did so superbly. The Troop earned the Quality Unit Award each year under Milt’s leadership, a proud tradition that is the very root of this troop today.
Through the years this troop has been led by many great Scout Masters:
Milt Sukow-15 years: 1973 to 1988
Lyle Marnholtz-9 years: 1988 to 1997; represented by his widow Hazel Marnholtz
Ralph Rathke-2 years: 1997 to 1999
Ron Schroeder-7 years: 1999 to 2006; still active
Len Bergman-6 years: 2006 to 2012; still active
Chad Oslage-current Scoutmaster
These are more than just names and years of service, as Scoutmasters they represent hundreds of boys who grew up learning and living the Scout oath. Thousands of miles were hiked, hundreds of knots were tied and dozens of Boy Scout donuts were eaten.
In the early years, Troop 303 was first sponsored by the 6th Ward businesses, then in 1989 VFW
Post 1638 became the Charter organization for the Troop. This partnership with the VFW is something that Troop 503 still is honored to carry on today.
From the first day a Webelo crosses over into Scouting, he aspires to reach the summit in scouting: the rank of Eagle Scout. To this day Troop 503 has seen 60 young men achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Along their quest, these young men have changed many lives in this community. They have completed projects that have made a difference in the lives of countless and most importantly, they have made themselves better citizens in this world.
In 1977, Troop 303 recognized its first eagle scout: Thomas Ollhoff; 1979:Mark Roskos; 1981:David Bessy, David Drury, Richard Helm, Ron Pfleiger and Lee Wardall; 1984:Richard Foster, Dana Stevenson and Rob Hartson; 1986:David Koch; 1989:Kevin Hanson, Brein Konkol, Richard Rajek and Michael Rathke; 1991:Matt Duwe; 1992:Darren Bade; 1994:David Polebitski, Todd Hanson, Jonathan Schroeder and Andrew Storm; 1997:Bernd Schneider and Chris Matthiae; 1998:Eric Tucker; 1999:Robert Nelson, Joseph Wiesneski and Dustin Vandre; 2000:Tony McConnell; 2001:Mike Dunlop; 2002:Patrick McConnell and Tyler Mueller; 2003:Trevor Schroeder and Kyle Badeau; 2004:Brian Lee, Michael McConnell, Christopher Mango, Ethan Mammer and Brian Krueger; 2005:Jordan Klos, Matt Dunlop and Blake Borchardt. Troop 503: 2006:Eric Seidel, Richard Helm the 3rd, Eric Rueth and Corey; 2008:Matt Leskey, Joshua Smarzinski and Trace Borchardt; 2009:Zach Ziemke and Ted Helm; 2011:Nick Leskey, Christopher Frick, Johnny Weber and Dylan Bergman; 2012:Michael Bergman, Dustin Oslage, Lawrence Price, Steven Clark, Richard Taylor and Tim Helm.
All Eagle Scouts and current Scouts were presented with a Troop 503 40th Anniversary memorial patch.