Honored Scout
Love of Scouting kept Gene Cox active for 32 years
By Sybil Blau

Corinne and Gene Cox are active in Newtown’s Boy and Girl Scout movement. Gene has been honored for his years of Scouting service.
The News-Times/Tim Wheeler

Corinne and Gene Cox are active in Newtown’s Boy and Girl Scout movement. Gene has been honored for his years of Scouting service.

Elmer Eugene "Gene” Cox has been involved in Boy Scouts for 32 years — and counting.

A native Newtowner, the 60-year-old Cox lives in the Pond Brook Road house in which he was raised.

"That’s an oddity here these days,” he said, eyes twinkling.

Cox was honored last month for his Scouting efforts by Troop 70 and the town.

From this house, as a bored pre-teen, he found Scouting.

"In 1955, Newtown was a small town. There weren’t many things to do,” Cox said.

The "Rev. (Paul) Cullens, minister of the Congregational Church, introduced Boy Scouts to Newtown in 1927. His wife, Agnes, introduced the Girl Scouts.

"He ran the Scouts almost like a youth group,” Cox said. Almost all the boys in town were members. There were lots of activities like skiing, sledding, hiking, camping and dances in the Alexandria Room for Boy and Girl Scouts.

Cox enjoys the camaraderie of Scouting.

He was a member of Explorer Post 70, which, he noted, "was coed back then.”

He stayed with Scouting until, on an ROTC scholarship, he entered UConn. He earned a degree in accounting in 1966 — an important year in his life.

Not only did he graduate, he married Corinne Lemb, his wife of 37 years and mother of their two sons, Aaron and Bruce. That year, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army and shipped to Vietnam.

He was in country for 13 months, then served stateside for another year.

"I came out as a captain,” he said.

After his discharge, Cox was a marketing representative for Exxon.

Almost as soon as he could, he retired, joining his father-in-law, Carl Lemb, in the wine importing and wholesale business.

Earning a living, though, never stopped Cox from being active in service organizations or coaching sports teams to which his sons belonged.

However, the group that grabbed — and held his attention and interest — was Scouting.

He returned to it in 1979, when his older son, Aaron, was 6.

"My wife and I became den leaders,” he said.

Together, Cox said, they led Tiger, Bobcat, Bear Cub and Wolf Scout dens; solo, he led a Webelo group.

He served on Scouting committees and became an assistant Scoutmaster. He has been Scoutmaster of Troop 70 three times and directed many Scouts to Eagle rank.

Cox is proud of the Scouting accomplishments of his sons, both of whom reached Eagle Scout status.

Aaron and his wife, Amy, are co-leaders of Venture Crew 70 for older scouts.

Though Cox returned to Scouting because of his sons, he’s stayed with it all these years because he strongly believes in what it advocates, teaches and reinforces.

"I enjoy it,” he said. "It’s one of the only organizations where boys can learn to be leaders. They learn skills in sports, not necessarily leadership skills. An awful lot of public figures have been Eagle Scouts.

"Scouting is a program that works,” he said. "It teaches moral values that boys don’t necessarily get other places.

"Sometimes,” he said, shrugging his shoulders, "people disagree with some of those values.”

The values, he said, "are basically the Ten Commandments. Don’t steal, don’t lie. Be honest, trustworthy, obedient, loyal.

"It sounds like a cliché,” he added, "but it works.”

Cox is president of the Cullens Youth Association; daughter-in-law Amy is vice president.

The association sponsors Boy Scout Troop 70 and Adventure Group 70 and administers the Cullens Memorial campground and nature facility on Taunton Lake Road.

The facility is open to local Boy and Girl Scouts and youth organizations.

Proud of Cullens and what it offers the youth of the town, Cox, said he’s "trying to stay with it until we get enough money in the endowment fund so the place will be self-sufficient.”

At Cox’s peak involvement, he devoted seven nights a week to Scouting. Now, it’s every Tuesday night, he said. "I stay with Scouting because I can see the results of all the work.

"I see them come in as boys and see them as young men who are Eagle Scouts,” he said.

"Scouting and the town have been good to me. You’ve gotta give back.”

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