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Flowery Branch Boy Scout troop dedicates new hut
More donations needed to finish work on building
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Boy Scout Troop 228 members present the nation’s colors during the dedication of the troop’s hut Sunday afternoon in Flowery Branch.

FLOWERY BRANCH — Boy Scout Troop 228’s new hut is almost open for business.

Under withering heat Sunday afternoon, Masons dedicated the building’s granite cornerstone in a traditional ceremony.

"I’m sure that you are as grateful to be in (the building) as we are to see it," said Al Garner Jr., grand orator with Grand Lodge of Georgia. "God bless you and your continued work and success."

Also, new 9th District U.S. Rep. Tom Graves presented a flag flown from the U.S. Capitol to officials.

"I look forward to seeing it fly high here," he said.

Following the ceremony, Scouts, public officials and others filed into the John E. Runyon Memorial Scout Hut for air-conditioned tours.

The wood-frame building, which sits on lodge property off Spring and Gainesville streets, still lacks some other essentials, including paved handicapped-accessible parking.

Those details need to be ironed out before a certificate of occupancy can be issued, Scoutmaster David Allen said.

Scouts passed a hat around the audience to collect donations for remaining work.

"I hope, by this fall, we can get the (permit)," Allen said after the ceremony.

The troop kicked around the idea of a permanent home after chartering with the Masons in 2004.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new hut took place in February 2008 and grading started two months later. The troop, which has kept a photo diary at its website, Boy Scout Troop 228, began putting up walls and framing the building in December 2008.

But the failing economy hampered the troop’s ability to raise money and get donations toward completing the project.

"This (project) is very dear to my heart," said Ken Cochran, the troop’s committee chairman to the large crowd gathered for Sunday’s event.

The hut will feature several rooms for meetings and activities, including a main room that will feature benches along the walls, a storage area and restrooms. It also has an attic that will house offices, as well as conference and record space.

An outside stairwell leads to the second floor at the rear of the building.

Allen told the audience that the hut was named after one of the troop’s founding adult leaders.

"We’ve had a very long journey in building this hut through fundraising and donations of materials and labor," he said.

A son of John Runyon, 19-year-old J.D. Runyon, told the crowd he was one of the founding Scouts.

"With me and my dad, I was ... all for it," he said. "I joined and I got to say Troop 228 was some of the best times of my life."

He also thanked the Masonic Lodge for allowing the scouts to meet in their building.

"I’d like to thank the troop again for dedicating this (hut) to my dad," Runyon said.

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