you're reading...

Cornelius News

Tommy Knox: Once a Scout, always a scout

Troop 72 meets in the Scout Hut at Bethel Presbyterian Church at 7pm each Tuesday

The Knox family name is so well​-known in Lake Norman, there’s a Knox Road. Knoxes have served as mayors of Charlotte (Eddie), Cornelius (Gary), Davidson (Russell) and Mooresville (Joe). The beloved “Waving Man” on North Main is a Knox who also goes by Mike.

But only one has devoted 50 years to Boy Scouts. Thomas Knox has had a profound influence on hundreds of Cornelius boys from Cubs to Eagles. The former scoutmaster of Troop 72​ at Bethel Presbyterian Church Knox was recently honored for 50 years of service to scouting​.

Thomas Brevard Knox—almost universally known as Tommy—organized the troop with men from Bethel Presbyterian and Cornelius Presbyterian Church in 1968. In 1967, he spent the year learning about scouting and working with other troops in the area.

Since that time, Troop 72 has served well over 750 local boys​; 95 young men have earned the Eagle Scout rank, a difficult, multi-year undertaking.

“The Eagle Scout is the most difficult and highest award in the Boy Scout system, and for good reason,” said Knox, 73. “When a youth takes time to study and work towards the Eagle rank he gains experience in planning and leadership that will go with him to college and the workplace. It carries a lot of weight on resumes too.”

Knox believes scouting remains a very relevant community service today. “It prepares young men for just about anything that life throws at them,” he says. The organization dates back to 1910; famous Eagle Scouts include film director Steven Spielberg, President Gerald Ford, basketball star and U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Scout traditions like cold-weather camping and building fires help build character, patience and teamwork. Knox said one of the more rewarding experiences was watching scouts overcome their own challenges and build confidence.

A large shelter at Camp Grimes in Western North Carolina was built by members of Troop 72 and named for Knox, a retired surveyor.

Scouting is not without its funny ​moments. His son, three at the time, packed a toy kitchen sink for a camping trip after he heard someone say “everything but the kitchen sink.”

A widower now—Gail passed away last year—Knox also volunteers at Bethel Presbyterian and Habitat for Humanity.