When the foundation was poured for the McMorris Lodge at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp in Calverton in June of 2019, some of the possessions of Andrew McMorris, the late Boy Scout it is named after, were included.
Andrew had an interest in flying and wanted to become a pilot. Some of those items reflected that interest. A model airplane and aviator sunglasses were included along with a merit badge, a guitar pick and a paintbrush.
“It really is Andrew’s lodge, so, it’s being built to honor his legacy and his memory, and it will serve Scouts for generations to come,” Donna Lillie, a Suffolk County Council of Boys Scouts of America executive board member, said in a phone interview.
The McMorris Lodge is about to be unveiled to the public for the first time. Ms. Lillie said it is about 90% completed.
Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will be a good day to take a nice walk and honor Andrew’s memory at the same time. The Andrew McMorris Memorial Walkathon will cover about 1 1/2 miles through the picturesque Baiting Hollow Scout Camp. Participants will also receive a tour of the Adirondack-style lodge, which features a massive, double indoor/outdoor fireplace.
Andrew was killed by a drunk driver while hiking the Greenbelt Trail in Manorville with his Boy Scout Troop 161 in September of 2018. The Wading River boy was 12. Three other Boy Scouts were injured in the accident.
On Jan. 2, Baiting Hollow Scout Camp director Jim Grimaldi and Ms. Lillie approached Andrew’s parents, John and Alisa, to discuss the idea of holding the walkathon as a fundraiser. The walkathon will raise funds that will go towards the lodge’s interior and furnishings, the endowment fund of the Suffolk County Council of Boy Scouts, and the Andrew McMorris Foundation. Since March, $85,280 has been raised, according to the Suffolk County Council.
“The McMorris family is honored and touched that the Boy Scouts of America — Suffolk County Council are paying tribute to our son, Andrew, in naming the new lodge at the Baiting Hollow Scout Camp in his memory,” the McMorris family said in a statement. “Andrew loved being a Boy Scout, so the naming of the lodge has a deep and special meaning to all of us who loved him.”
Suffolk County Council president Dave Colford said Andrew “represented the best that Scouting and humanity has to offer.”
The walkathon, originally scheduled for March 28, two days before what would have been Andrew’s 14th birthday, was rescheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The rain-or-shine event will be a one-directional walk, with walkers required to wear masks and separated into small groups. The first group of walkers is expected to be the McMorris family and members of Troop 161 at 9 a.m.
Said Ms. Lillie, “It’s been a labor love.”