TOP PHOTO: Bob Kibler’s Eagle Scouts: In 2019, several of former Scoutmaster Bob Kibler’s Eagle Scouts from the 1970s and 1980s met to honor the leader. From left: Rob Kibler, Bob Kibler, Doug Kibler, Tommy Overton, Daniel Freeman, John Troutman, and David Reynolds. The group presented Bob with several mementos, including the Eagle statue he’s holding.
By John Troutman
LAFOLLETTE, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF) – It’s the highest honor a Boy Scout can earn. Only 2% of eligible Scouts have earned their Eagle Scout Award. And in LaFollette’s Scout troops in the 1970s and 1980s, Scoutmaster Bob Kibler knew how to bring out the best of the young men in his program.
Even though Bob passed away in June at age 90, his legacy carries on through the Scouts and Eagle Scouts that he mentored through the years. Bob was Scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troops 435 and 429 in LaFollette from 1970 to 1984.
At his funeral service, Scouts from many generations – including both of LaFollette’s current Troops: 435 and 310 — attended to pay respects to this Scoutmaster of Eagles. At the service, members of Troops 435 and 310 paused and saluted as they passed his casket in a solemn moment of reverence.
Beginning in 1970 when he became Troop 435 Scoutmaster, Bob taught his Scouts the outdoor and citizenship skills that led to merit badges, that led to Eagle. Bob’s Eagle Scouts, starting in the early 1970s through the mid-1980s:
- Drew Moore, Gordon Sneed, Tim Couch, Kirby Berry, Tommy Overton, Chuck Taylor,
- Daniel Freeman, Bill Neal, John Troutman, David Reynolds, Kim “CJ” Russell,
- Tim “TR” Carson, Walter “Scooter” Cox, Mike “Bug” Cox, Johnny Sutton,
- Rob Kibler, Doug Kibler.
Today, Scouting continues in LaFollette with two troops; see below.
Bob Kibler’s oldest son Rob has been a volunteer with LaFollette Scouts for nearly 50 years, since earning his Eagle Award as a youth. Rob’s oldest daughter Macy is now an active member in her grandfather’s old troop – Troop 435, an all-female BSA troop sponsored by the LaFollette Methodist Church.
Thanks to Bob Kibler from his Eagles:
“So many things for which I could thank Bob Kibler!! One stands out: after my Scouting days were over, I was headed on my first deer hunting trip. One full week deep into the new Big South Fork area. Bob loaned me his four-wheel drive for a whole week!!! Me, maybe 19 years old, allowed to borrow Bob’s Bronco! The Bronco that took us on many Scout adventures. Wow!!”
Daniel Freeman, Eagle Scout class of 1977
“Mr. Kibler had a calm but firm leadership style. It’s hard to imagine the patience it took to guide a group of boys – some rowdy, some lacking focus — on weekend camping trips at Camp Sequoyah, and week-long summer adventures at Camp Pellissippi. But he led us on the path to Eagle Scout and good citizenship.”
John Troutman, Eagle Scout class of 1976
“Mr. K was my second Scoutmaster but the first one I remember taking an interest in learning about me. Talked me into going camping for the first time — and helped me earn my Scout Totin’ Chip (wood tools certification). A great person to look up to; he started me on a life of service.
Walter “Scooter” Cox, Eagle Scout Class of 1978
“He was a great mentor, a person who made a difference in my life — and the lives of many other youth.”
Bill Neal, Eagle Scout class of 1975
“Mr. Kibler saw the individual values and skills of each young Scout, and provided a training ground for each of us to progress toward our Eagle. We had great lessons in camp skills and life skills from him.”
David Reynolds, Eagle Scout class of 1978
For more info about LaFollette Scouting:
Chris Thacker, Scoutmaster of Troop 310, sponsored by Cedar Hill Baptist Church in LaFollette. Phone, aitgChris@gmail.com, 423 494-6221.
Scout Leader Liz White, all-female BSA Troop 435, sponsored by the LaFollette Methodist Church. LizWhite73@hotmail.com, 423 907-4160. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/16/2023-6AM)