Eric Hellwig was a giant figure in my life. He was more than my Scoutmaster, he was a mentor, role model and friend. He was a significant influence on me at a time in my life when I needed it most and I credit him amply for helping me become the person I am today. I managed to stay connected to Eric over the years but the most indelible memories are rooted in scouting. He seemed to enjoy appearing gruff and tough - I can still hear his booming voice coming through the trees for us to “Get that fire below you knees!” or, when we were in fundraising mode, “Buckwheat (a somewhat random nickname he gave me), you need to sell more Christmas wreaths!” I vividly recall the discipline doled out liberally to his many wayward charges -- I can’t believe some of the insane things we tried to pull off when we didn’t think he’d notice. But just as often I recall the quieter, thoughtful Mr. Hellwig who would take me or another kid under his wing for a gentle, encouraging conversation that would lift our spirit or help us do something we didn’t think we were capable to even attempt. I made Eagle Scout under him, and my 1978 ‘Troop 76 Scout of the Year’ trophy remains among my most cherished possessions, so clearly he was doing something right. Indeed, he was everything that was right about scouting.
These few words don’t do enough to convey the profound mark he left on the world or the legacy he’s left with so many of us who were lucky enough to know him well, but all should know he will be sorely missed on this earth. My sympathies to Anne, Dan, Tom, Steve and the entire Hellwig family.
Friday February 2, 2018 at 11:33 am