By dixon Hayes
GADSDEN, AL (WBRC) - Boy Scout executives are reassuring parents that Boy Scout Troop 58 and Cub Pack 58 are in Etowah County to stay. This comes as Goodyear is re-evaluating its charter. Parents are concerned Goodyear's East Gadsden plant may drop the Scouts' charter due to liability issues.
This comes, ironically, as the Scouts mark the 75th anniversary of Goodyear's sponsorship, and even had anniversary activities set for September.
Troop 58's website http://www.goodyeartroop58.com/index.html confirms Goodyear is considering dropping it charter but talks are continuing. Tim Cooper, Scout Executive with the Greater Alabama Council Boy Scouts, tells Fox6 News it's a liability issue. Cooper says an accident at a Goodyear plant--not the one in Gadsden--resulted in a corporate policy barring outside groups from meeting on Goodyear property.
Since 1938, the Troop 58 Scout cabin has been located on the site of the East Gadsden plant.
Cooper says the issue appears to be a corporate issue, and local plant management remains in talks with the Boy Scouts to work something out. Cooper describes the Gadsden plant management as very supportive of Scouting.
Goodyear's logo appears on Cub Scout and Boy Scout uniforms worn by the members of Troop 58. Former Scoutmaster Greg Abel says Goodyear even paid for equipment, and the price to haul the equipment.
Still, parents who emailed Fox6 expressed concern the Scouts might not have a place to meet. Abel says such a decision would be "devastating."
But Cooper says parents and scouts need not worry, the group will simply meet someplace else and find a new charter organization. Cooper says that's if Goodyear pulls out, and stresses the company is still working with the Scouts for a solution.
Abel calls Troop 58 a strong group with strong leaders. He rose from Cub Scout to Scoutmaster of Troop 58 himself before his retirement, and says the current scoutmaster was one of his scouts.
Abel says Scouting has a profoundly positive impact on a boy's life. "Scouting will continue to follow you throughout your whole life, says Abel, even after a man is too old for baseball or football.
Goodyear Gadsden spokesperson Jackie Edmondson says a decision could come Tuesday or Wednesday, July 6 or 7.