The Always-Inspiring Mowogo Lodge Annual Banquet

The proud mom with my son at the banquet, January 14, 2023

Last evening, my family and I attended the always-inspiring annual banquet of the Mowogo Lodge in Clayton, Georgia. The Lodge is the Northeast Georgia Council of Boy Scouts of America Order of the Arrow Honor Society. My son has been a member of Mowogo Lodge and its most southern chapter – Lau-in-nih – in the Council for the past several years, being a leader in his chapter during one year. My son is an eagle scout with several palms, and absolutely loves scouting, as well as the fellowship, community, camaraderie, and service opportunities that scouting provides. Since he has been a member of the Mowogo Lodge, we have not missed an annual banquet, except for the one that was canceled due to COVID in 2020.

Keynote Speaker, Emma

I always enjoy attending the annual banquets held by Mowogo Lodge. It is great to see and catch up with friends, make new friends, partake in a delicious meal, celebrate and recognize the Lodge and outstanding members, and hear inspiring and motivating speeches. My family sat at a table with another family, of whom two members were recognized with awards for outstanding service. While dining at this table, we got to know them a bit, as well as the advisor of their chapter, who also sat with us. We ate delicious breaded baked chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce, crab cakes, and prime rib, along with yummy veggies and desserts.

Current Lodge Leadership for 2023

We also heard words of encouragement and motivation from a young lady named Emma, the Keynote Speaker, who is serving as Section 9 Order of the Arrow Secretary – a huge and impressive job for a high school student. Emma spoke to the Lodge, encouraging everyone to be a catalyst to spark energy for continued positive growth and development in the organization. It was also my pleasure to speak with Emma more personally, and we discovered that we had each been former members of Girl Scouts. I am happy that Emma can shine in Boy Scouts, an organization that appears to more closely fulfill her goals. Lodge Advisor, Rusty, reminded everyone what OA is all about, particularly doing cheerful service for others as well as recognizing “those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law…” (https://oa-bsa.org/about/mission-purpose).

Current Lodge and/or Chapter Leadership for 2023

I do not generally make many posts about scouting and my son’s involvement in it, in order to respect his own privacy and intentions, however I wanted to take moment and share. My son, overall, has had an excellent experience in scouting. He gives back to scouting by serving as a troop assistant scoutmaster in Loganville. He is also a Camp Rainey Mountain staff alum and a Northeast Georgia Council scholarship recipient. Scouting has helped to develop my son’s character in wonderful ways, and now, he serves as a role model and guide for others in scouting. I appreciate the opportunities that scouting has offered my son throughout his life, and I am thankful that he can remain in scouting and participate in meaningful ways through his council, lodge, chapter, and troop!

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I Love You, Dad: Bruce Babcock, 1943-2021

Bruce Babcock in August 2020 in Lilburn, Georgia

Bruce Everett Babcock, of Snellville, Georgia, and formerly of Gowanda and Collins, New York, died at his home in Snellville on February 19, 2021 due to natural causes. Babcock was born in Collins, New York on August 13, 1943 to Bernice Gale Briggs Babcock (Sprague) and Charles Albert Babcock. Babcock graduated from Gowanda High School and was married to Anna Krakowiak Babcock for nearly 55 years until her death in 2018. As an employee of the State of New York for 37 years, Babcock worked in different roles. He began as a mental health aide, and later worked as a fireman and stationary engineer at the Power House of the Gowanda Psychiatric Center. After the Center transitioned to a prison, he was employed as maintenance supervisor for the Gowanda and Collins Correctional Facilities until his retirement.

Chuck and Bruce Babcock, July 4, 1987 Parade, Gowanda, New York

Babcock enjoyed hobbies such as owning, restoring, and showing classic Ford Thunderbirds for many years. He was a member of the Buffalo Thunderbird Club for several decades, taking his black T-Bird to an international car show and being awarded third place. In Snellville, Babcock was a member of the Georgia Cool Cruisers car club, showing his restored Ford Ranger. Babcock was also skilled in carpentry, electricity, painting, welding, plumbing, and stained glass. He apprenticed and worked with Robert Peglowski and Sons of Collins, New York in carpentry for many years as a young man.

Babcock was a wonderful and generous family man who lived for his family, always doing more than what was necessary to help and support them in whatever ways possible. He was the rock of the family. He and Anna moved to Georgia in 2006 to live near their only grandchild, John Robert “Bobby” Nice, III. Babcock loved the outdoors, warm weather, Gaelic music, and NASCAR racing. He additionally enjoyed swimming, boating, landscaping, and Boy Scouts. Babcock loved animals, raising and showing guinea pigs and rabbits in his childhood, and spoiling his Yorkie poodle in later life. He was a merit badge counselor and supporter of Snellville Boy Scout Troop 548. He further enjoyed supporting Bobby in Boy Scouts for conservation and eagle scout projects, as well as Roman Catholic religious accomplishments. Babcock was the godfather and confirmation sponsor for Bobby’s Catholic sacraments.

Babcock is a former parishioner of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Gowanda, and most recently, of St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Lilburn, Georgia. Raised a Quaker, he converted to Catholicism at marriage. Babcock was predeceased by his parents and had no siblings. He is survived by his daughter, Michele Babcock-Nice, of Snellville, Georgia and son, Charles “Chuck” Babcock of Gowanda, New York, as well as his grandson, Bobby, of Snellville, all of whom love him deeply and miss him dearly.

A memorial service was held for Babcock at St. John Neumann Church, and a burial service was held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Gowanda, New York, with arrangements by Wentland Funeral Home of North Collins, New York.

Florida in July!

I’ve been very busy with life 🙂 for the past couple of years, and haven’t made very many posts lately. However, I’d like to make this post about a trip my son and I took to Florida this summer.

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My son at Florida Sea Base, Islamorada, July 1, 2020

It was great to get away to Florida for a few days! Of course, it was very nerve-wracking to go in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, but we did it.

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View of Miami from Biscayne National Park, July 8, 2020

My son spent many days at Sea Base in the Florida Keys with his Order of the Arrow honor society through Boy Scouts of America.

It was an experience that we planned on prior to the coronavirus pandemic, and we were still deciding whether or not to go even in the days prior to the trip.

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Key West lighthouse, July 2, 2020

Ultimately, we decided to go and be as safe as possible while wearing our masks, neck gaiters, and cotton gloves as much as possible.

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Royal Poinciana tree with beautiful orange flowers, Key Largo, Florida, July 6, 2020

In my hotels in South Florida and Key West, I also used Lysol to wipe down all of the high-touch areas, including on each occasion after housekeeping came through to clean and tidy up.

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Lizard at Florida Sea Base, July 2, 2020

I’m so thankful and relieved that we could go, have a good time, AND stay safe and healthy, avoiding COVID-19!

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Butterfly at the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, July 2, 2020

I must say that I’ve never been to Florida in the incredible heat of July, so this was a first!

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Rhinoceros lizard at The Alligator Farm, Homestead, Florida, June 2020

It was so incredibly hot in South Florida, especially with the Saharan dust blanketing the atmosphere, warming it up like an oven. I knew it would be hot, and it was definitely sizzling!

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Parrot at Theater of the Sea wildlife facility in Islamorada, July 6, 2020

Unfortunately, the beaches were closed from Thursday through Monday for Independence Day weekend due to the Florida governor trying to limit the coronavirus spread, so that put a damper on beach plans.

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Palm tree with coconuts growing, Bayfront Park, Homestead, Florida, July 8, 2020

However, it was necessary. Coronavirus infections continue to rise and break records in Florida. I eventually got to the beach and got my fill of the sun – within one hour! That was plenty for me. 🙂

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Crab at Biscayne National Park, Homestead, Florida, July 8, 2020

In all, it surely was so nice to get away for awhile!

Remembering American Military Veterans on this Memorial Day (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

American Flag at Snellville, Georgia, May 26, 2014

American Flag at Snellville, Georgia, May 26, 2014

My son put out the American flag today, in special remembrance of America’s military veterans and in celebration of Memorial Day 2014.  Putting out the flag has become somewhat of a tradition for him throughout the past few years, particularly since it was a requirement for one of his achievements as a Cub Scout.  Today, he put out the flag as a new Boy Scout.  Last evening, my family also watched the Memorial Day tribute celebration on television, as broadcasted by PBS.  That has also been a tradition in my family for many years.  This year is the 25th anniversary of the annual Memorial Day broadcast.

In remembrance of military veterans in my family, I have authored this article, having arranged photos and/or memorabilia of all of those known family members and/or ancestors who have served in the American military.  I am thankful for those who have risked their lives and/or who have given their lives for the freedoms that I enjoy.

One important issue to keep in mind, however, is that our freedoms may be our right, but should also be practiced with appropriate reason and rationalization.  I stated this, particularly due to interpretations of the Second Amendment of our country’s Constitution, in regard to the right to bear arms.  We should all keep in mind that while we have a right to bear arms, that does not mean that we have the right to take another’s life, unless circumstances absolutely warrant it in matters of self-protection.  Let us not allow the right to bear arms, as well as monetary-backed interests to that aim, to remain more important than protecting people’s lives.

May we all strive to live together in peace and harmony.  Let us all remember the sacrifices of those who serve and who have served in our military forces so that not only our freedoms are maintained, but so that the spirit of democracy may infuse those in other countries, as well.  May our military forces stationed in Afghanistan soon return home, and back to our wonderful democracy!

Memorial Postcard in Remembrance of the American Civil War, 1861-1865

Memorial Postcard in Remembrance of the American Civil War, 1861-1865

Grand Army of the Republic Veteran's Medal from the American Civil War, 1861-1865

Grand Army of the Republic Veteran’s Medal from the American Civil War, 1861-1865

Fred Henn, Civil War Veteran, Hamburg, New York, Circa 1870-1890

Fred Henn, Civil War Veteran, Hamburg, New York, Circa 1870-1890

Harry H. Gale, Member of American Military in New York State, , Hamburg, New York, 1880s

Harry H. Gale, Member of American Military in New York State, Hamburg, New York, 1880s

John Briggs, North Collins, NY, Soldier in World War I, Circa 1917

John Briggs, North Collins, NY, Soldier in World War I, Circa 1917

John Hintermister (the Elder), American Military Veteran

John Hintermister (the Elder), American Military Veteran

Funeral Card of David I. Briggs, North Collins, New York, 1968 (Killed in Vietnam War) (Wentland Funeral Home, North Collins, New York)

Funeral Card of David I. Briggs, North Collins, New York, 1968 (Killed in Vietnam War) (Wentland Funeral Home, North Collins, New York)

Funeral Card of David Briggs, North Collins, New York, 1968

Funeral Card of David Briggs, North Collins, New York, 1968

Henry Curtis, World War II Veteran

Henry Curtis, World War II Veteran

Eugene Spires, World War II Veteran

Eugene Spires, World War II Veteran

James Kibbe, Korean War Veteran

James Kibbe, Korean War Veteran

Peter Krakowiak, American Navy Veteran

Peter Krakowiak, American Navy Veteran

Arnold Bennett, Vietnam War Veteran

Arnold Bennett, Vietnam War Veteran

I am also aware that one of the Tomaszewski men (formerly of Gowanda, New York, and now of Chicago, Illinois), a cousin to my mom, was a pilot in the Air Force, possibly in the Vietnam War.

These photos, information, and memorabilia represent individuals within my family, and from my family ancestry, who have served in the American military.  My former spouse also briefly served in the military. I salute you for your risks, sacrifices, and in the case of David Briggs, his ultimate sacrifice of his life, for the freedoms and protections of others.  While I have taught history, and honor and appreciate our military veterans, I am not one who has the will to risk my life in possible sacrifice in the military.  You all are a credit to our country for your service, and to the preservation of democracy.