Hats Off: Beloit man continues volunteering for Boy Scouts after 70 years
BELOIT—It's rare for someone to be part of any organization for 70 years, but Lowell Fjalstad has done it.
The 79-year-old Beloit man earned a 70-year pin earlier this year from the Glacier's Edge Council Boy Scouts of America, said Andrew Olsen, Indian Trails District director.
Olsen said Fjalstad's seven-decade commitment to Boy Scouts is rare.
“You don't find maybe a handful throughout the council,” he said.
The council serves boys in 14 Wisconsin counties, including Rock and Walworth, along with Winnebago and Boone counties in Illinois, he said.
Fjalstad hasn't stayed involved to get an award. He does it because he sees a need and believes in helping others, Olsen said.
“It was never about him. It was always about what he can do to give back to others. He was the one who stepped forward over and over again to make things happen. You've got a whole community that's benefited from him,” he said.
Fjalstad said Scouting's 70-year pin provides a sense of accomplishment.
“I just like Scouting and working with the boys. There's a lot of potential with them, and I just enjoy it,” he said.
Fjalstad's Scouting career began in April 1946 when he became a Cub Scout. He later became a Boy Scout and earned Eagle Scout honors before becoming a Scoutmaster at age 21.
Boy Scout Troop 608 Assistant Scoutmaster Phil Batchelor has worked alongside Fjalstad since 1978 and said Fjalstad is involved in every aspect of troop members' lives.
“He's totally involved in their academics, school activities, sports and other programs and attends a lot of their events both during the school year and summer. He works to make them be better citizens,” he said.
Batchelor and Olsen said Fjalstad's efforts have impacted thousands of boys through Scouting, including 52 of the troop's boys who have earned Eagle Scout status.
Fjalstad teaches the boys "that what they do is important and gets them ready for the next step, whether it be in the military or furthering their schooling,” Batchelor said.
Olsen said Fjalstad has been a role model in the Scouting program and what it means to be a Scout.
“It's how you choose to live your life, and if you stay the course you will be successful,” he said.
Olsen said volunteering is a part-time job at minimum but has been more for Fjalstad, a retired engineer who raised a family of seven with his late wife, Julia, who supported his volunteerism.
“You have to know what the expectations are—give of your time, take the training and put the effort into it on an enthusiastic level--and Fjalstad does all of that without hesitation. It's remarkable and amazing. He's enjoying it, and it's rewarding for him to give back.”
Fjalstad said that's true.
“I've always told people, when it ceases being fun, then I'll get out, but I'm having a lot of fun. It's like a hobby. If you like it, you stay with it,” he said.