Last summer a dear friend, fellow parishioner and Scout leader, Fran Allegra, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. A Mass was celebrated for him at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Vienna VA. The church was packed and we had a large showing of Boy Scouts (leaders and adults) that came to show their support and appreciation regardless of denomination. A true scouting moment. It was a wonderful send off.
There is little doubt to me that Boy Scouts of America is one of the, if not the best, program in America in which to raise our boys to be kind, caring, confident individuals, with great character, and who know what it is to be good citizens while keeping physically fit in mind and body. It simply works.
BSA is great for we adults as well who give their time and talent in the best interest of supporting the boys and their Troop Program. I have met many wonderful and dedicated adults over my 15 years. Many times I have just a little idea of what they do outside of scouting. Some may be the CEO of their own company, some are IT professionals, some are retired or active military, doctors, lawyers, accountants, and many stay at home moms, and dads too. We come from very diverse backgrounds and yet none of that really matters once we step out onto the trail and into the woods with a bunch of eager young Scouts ready to explore, learn, grow, and mature. Its down right fun and I love the time shared with my adult Scouters.
Fran was one of those guys. While I knew he was a Federal Judge, I never knew him in that way. I always knew him as just another interested Dad willing to help out on any event he was available for, and as a dedicated husband, father, and Scouter to first our Pack and later our Troop. Camping did not come easy for him, but he was always in it to win it. We shared in many laughs around the campfire on beautiful summer nights, as well as rain soaked soggy weekends. Both his boys are still with our Troop and are a joy to be around; a true reflection of their parents.
I really didn’t know too much about Fran’s love of minerals.
So it was a delight for me to be able to help out a woman, Alexis, of Fine Minerals International, when she contacted me in an effort to obtain photos of Fran for a display case being assembled for the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show this past February. Since I had helped the family with a tribute slideshow, I still had access (and permission) to share the images. After helping her I quickly forgot about the effort until yesterday when I received the below e-mail and pictures.
I was blown away at this wonderful tribute. Alexis’ email caught me by surprise and I found myself choking back tears and missing my old friend. It was just too nice a celebration of Fran to keep to myself so I share it with you now. Make sure you open the PDF at the bottom to read the display text. Enjoy.
I wanted to thank you again for your assistance with the photographs. It was very much appreciated. I enjoyed seeing all the photos of his life and learning more about him. I have attached 2 photos of the display case for you to share with your scouts as well as the text for the boards themselves so you can read the text and share that as well. Every time I walked by the display case there where people admiring his pieces and reading his story. It was very touching to me to see the love and respect of old friends and collectors as well as people who didn’t know him really enjoying the case. Every year there is also a DVD that is made called What’s Hot in Tucson that highlights the show and different dealers. The gentleman that films this stepped from behind the camera, a rare occurrence, and spoke about Fran and the tribute case for this years DVD. Once it is produced I can have him send me that segment for you to share as well.
The case was on display at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show (TGMS) from Feb 11-14. We displayed 15 pieces from Fran’s collection in the 5’ wide case. The TGMS show attendance is about 20,000 people annually. This show is the largest, oldest and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world. Tucson hosts 100’s of individual shows over a 3-4 week span all over Tucson and is the largest gem and mineral gathering in the world. The second would be the Munich Mineral Show which is housed in a large convention center which consists of 4 large buildings.
Please let me know if you need anything else and I hope the scouts enjoy the photos of the case.
All the best,
The inside display text can be viewed by opening up this pdf file. Allegra Display Text.
Many thanks for sharing Alexis and for honoring our friend Fran.