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Boy Scouts raising money to name camp lodge after Andrew McMorris

The 12-year-old died a day after he was struck by an alleged drunken driver while hiking with his troop in September in Manorville.

Boy Scout Troop 161 members, from left, Erich

Boy Scout Troop 161 members, from left, Erich Fuhrmann, 16; Hunter Pozgay; 17; Joshua Fuhrmann, 14; Joe Pozgay, 15; and Matthew Sherman, 16, hold a picture of the new Adirondack Cabin at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp in Calverton on Dec. 9.  Photo Credit: James Carbone

The Calverton camp used by generations of Boy Scouts may one day include a memorial to a "bright light" in the organization.

The Suffolk County branch of Boy Scouts of America, Troop 161, and the family of Andrew McMorris are trying to raise $100,000 to build the new Adirondack Cabin at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp and rename it the McMorris Lodge.

Andrew McMorris, 12, of Wading River, died a day after he was struck by an alleged drunken driver while hiking with his troop on Sept. 30 along the shoulder of David Terry Road in Manorville. Four other Scouts who were also struck survived. The driver, Thomas Murphy, faces charges including aggravated vehicular homicide and assault. 

“The hope is that the cabin won’t just bear his name but tell his story,” said Jane Sherman, committee chairman of Troop 161, to which McMorris belonged.

Details aren’t finalized but ideas about how to memorialize McMorris have included pictures, artwork and a story board.

McMorris' parents, John and Alisa McMorris, said they were honored by the community support. 

“I’m switching from mothering my son to mothering his legacy,” Alisa McMorris said. “His memory is very, very touching to us.”

The cabin, which had been used as a sleeping quarters the past few years, was demolished during the summer. A new 3,200-square-foot building is planned in its place once fundraising is complete. 

“The council wanted something to remember Andrew by,” said Jim Grimaldi, program director of the Suffolk County Council, Boy Scouts of America.

He said contributions have come in regularly but declined to say how much money has been raised.

 This isn’t the first time the council has honored a dedicated Scout. The council has also named a recreation area at the camp in honor of former Scout Ralph Jackson, 21, of Patchogue, who died of a heart attack in 2010, officials said.

McMorris, a seventh-grader, was part of the 55-member troop for nearly two years and had been promoted to First Class rank, council officials said.

Matthew Sherman, 16, senior patrol leader for Troop 161, said everyone has rallied around the McMorris cause.

“It was really bad initially, but about a week or so after we started replacing the negative feelings with positive feelings,” he said. “The troop came together and we’ve been doing a lot better.”

Council officials said the campground where the cabin is has played an important developmental role for Scouts.

“It’s where we go for Cub Scouting and serves as summer camp,” Jane Sherman said. “It’s a special place for scouting. For most scouts, it’s a home base.”

Officials said the idea for the renaming came from a variety of people.

“He was a man with a plan. He wasn’t a kid that was just floating through life — he knew what he wanted to do,” Jane Sherman said. 

That was a lot of things, if you asked those who knew him. McMorris' interests included piloting and playing music — he learned to play the guitar and ukulele — and he was a dedicated Scout.

“He was a bright light,” Jane Sherman said.

Anyone interested in donating can call 631-924-7000 or visit https://www.sccbsa.org/mcmorris.

Honoring Andrew

Andrew's Run, a 2.5-mile run/walk will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Shoreham-Wading River High School. Proceeds from the $10 entry fee, as well as any additional donations, will go toward construction of the cabin. 

The first Scouting for Food Drive, in memory of McMorris, runs through Saturday. Nonperishable food items and monetary donations will be accepted at all Teachers Federal Credit Union branches on Long Island.

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