Editorial: Out of horrible tragedy comes memorial to brave young Scout

Something happened in Calverton last week that was well worth writing about. 

The Andrew McMorris Lodge at the Baiting Hollow Scout Camp was formally unveiled with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event was both a moment of pride for Andrew’s family and an occasion for deep sadness over the loss of Andrew, who was 12 when he was killed by a drunk driver while on a hike with fellow Scouts of Troop 161.

The refurbishing of a run-down cabin at the camp is now a memorial to a young boy who loved the Boy Scouts as well as a brand-new space that will be able to accommodate large groups of boys and girls.

Present at the ceremony were Andrew’s parents, Alisa and John McMorris, and sister, Arianna, along with a number of public officials, including County Executive Steve Bellone and District Attorney Timothy Sini, whose office prosecuted the drunk driver and sent him off to prison, where he belongs. 

As Mr. McMorris put it, “We are overjoyed with this lodge and the fact that it’s paying tribute to our son and fellow Scout. Yet we are simultaneously joyous and incredibly sad and broken-hearted because our lively and kind-hearted son should still be here today.”

The new lodge will forever hold Andrew’s spirit, and we celebrate its refurbishing and its dedication as a new place for Scouts to gather in his name. The lodge will always be a testament to building something good out of an unspeakable tragedy. 

Going forward, young people will be able to come to this spot, learn from each other and grow. And as they gather, these Scouts will be able to always remember the boy whose death inspired its creation.

One message delivered at the ceremony concerned the dangers of drinking and driving. We include Mr. McMorris’ remarks in this editorial, as well as in our story on the event, because they are important enough to read more than once.

“Please remember that life is fragile and drinking and driving is deadly and 100% preventable,” he said.

As Ms. McMorris so eloquently put it, “This lodge is a perfect representation of what it takes to rebuild our life. Our lives were shattered and our family house was unrecognizable, much the way this Adirondack cabin started out. But slowly we built a new foundation that included his spirit and fostered its growth.”

We applaud the McMorris family for what they have accomplished.