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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Funds for Explorers Salute Oil-Spill Aid

During the oil spill crisis in February, the city reached out for help from an Explorer Scout post sponsored by the city’s Police and Fire departments.

Now the city is acknowledging the Scouts’ work by making a $2,210 contribution to the post. The money comes from the city’s settlement with British Petroleum, which assumed financial responsibility for the spill of its oil from the tanker American Trader.

The city said that the $2,210 going to Explorer Search and Rescue Post 563 represents payment, at $5 an hour, for 442 hours of work by Scouts.

The City Council on Nov. 19 unanimously approved giving the money to the Explorer Post. In a memo to the council, Police Chief Ronald E. Lowenberg said, “The Explorer Post assisted with errands and helping to keep the beach closed to the public during the oil spill. . . . Since the Explorers are volunteers, the money will go to the post to help defray expenses.”

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Police Officer J.B. Hume, coordinator for the Explorer Post, said the post will use the money for training, including sending Scouts to police and fire academies for instruction. “The cost of these academies is between $50 and $150 per Scout, and we try to help pay these costs,” Hume said.

The post has 45 Explorer Scouts, ages 15 to 21, Hume said. All of them worked during the oil-spill crisis, he said.

“We assisted with a variety of errands, such as bringing supplies,” Hume said. “We also provided people to ride with a police officer in the two four-wheel-drive vehicles that drove on the beach, checking on the condition of the oil booms. That saved the staffing of police officers. On some days, the Scouts were working 15-hour shifts.” Hume said some of the Scouts in the post become interested in law-enforcement and firefighter careers because of their exposure to working adults in those fields.

He added that the Scouts, during their oil-spill work for the city, exhibited the kind of good citizenship the post stresses. “Am I proud of them? Oh, beyond belief,” he said.

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