West End scouts focus on rebuilding after lodge fire
Posted August 26, 2009 5:16 p.m. EDT
Updated August 26, 2009 9:10 p.m. EDT
West End, N.C. — Dwane Parsons, the leader of Boy Scout Troop 98, said his scouts spent several summers raising money and building their own lodge.
“We’ve had boys here from the very beginning, digging footings out and helping to pour concrete,” Parson said.
But on the night of Aug. 17, the West End Scout Lodge, located at 3164 Carthage Road on property owned by West End United Methodist Church, was burned down.
The church building was considered a total loss with an estimated $400,000 in damages.
“That night, it was hard for me to come up here,” Parsons said. “I couldn’t hardly talk.”
After seeing the damage, he made several calls to former scouts who had a role in the construction.
“A lot of these older kids are in college right now, and I’m making calls to them, and they’re quiet for a little bit,” he said.
Parsons son, Isaac Parsons, was one of the scouts who helped build the lodge. He called the fire "heartbreaking."
The person charged with setting fire is former scout Aaron Jaymes Lee, 17, of 103 Sandspur Lane, according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
Lee was arrested Saturday and charged with burning a church, two counts of setting fire to a wooded area and two counts of misuse of 911.
“He has some problems,” Parsons said.
Lee left Troop 98 five years ago, Parsons said. He is reportedly a junior volunteer member of the Seven Lakes Fire Department. He was part of the crew that helped fight the lodge's fire.
The scouts try to embrace boys like Lee, Parsons said, but “they fall through the cracks.”
“We can’t save everybody. We try,” Parsons said.
Parsons said the scouts will be rebuilding the lodge.
“We’re gonna move forward on this thing and build it back,” he said.
In addition to the Aug. 17 church fire, authorities linked Lee to a July 1 fire near the intersection of Sandspur Lane and Edgewater Drive in the Seven Lakes community and false reports of fires on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22.