An im­por­tant cause

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Virginia -

Mon­ica Wolfe calls her younger son an old soul, a gen­tle gi­ant. Like his fa­ther, there’s noth­ing he’d like more than to spend time in a cabin up in the moun­tains.

While Travis doesn’t go into de­tail about the dras­tic im­pact his fa­ther’s death had on him, his mother does. She talks about the way his grades plum­meted, and he couldn’t find any­thing to care about in school.

Travis and books were never best friends to be­gin with — he’s al­ways pre­ferred do­ing things with his hands.

His mother is en­cour­aged be­cause he re­cently started talk­ing about be­com­ing a me­chanic, ei­ther in the Army or Marines. He wants to work on tanks, jets or big trucks.

Through­out the past four years, the one con­stant in Travis’ life has been Scout­ing. He be­longs to Boy Scout Troop 142, which is char­tered by the Stafford chap­ter of the Izaak Wal­ton League of Amer­ica.

Lots of boys de­cide to build or clean up some­thing for their Ea­gle Scout projects. Chuck Wolfe, who’s 22, adopted a nearby ceme­tery that he con­tin­ues to main­tain.

But the goal is com­mu­nity ser­vice, and Boy Scouts are turn­ing more at­ten­tion to sui­cide pre­ven­tion, es­pe­cially among teens, said Bar­bara Ben­dele, com­mit­tee chair of Troop 142.

“Travis is on the cut­ting edge of this im­por­tant so­cial is­sue,” said Ben­dele, adding that he has spread the word through Stafford high schools and Boy Scout troops in the en­tire Aquia District, ask­ing them to par­tic­i­pate in Satur­day’s walk.

Scout­ing for Food, an ef­fort that started as an Ea­gle Scout project, has become a na­tional event for Boy Scouts, and Ben­dele says “it would be amaz­ing, pow­er­ful and poignant” if Travis be­gan a cam­paign that also spread across the coun­try.

It cer­tainly is an im­por­tant cause, she said.

“We have far too many loved ones,” she said, “es­pe­cially teens, die each year while they are bat­tling de­pres­sion.”

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