PHOTOS BY FLAVIA POTENZA
Two new Eagle Scout plaques replacing the original
that went missing were dedicated and celebrated at
the post office on Tuesday, November 9.
No one seems to have noticed when the original plaque honoring Topangaâs Eagle Scouts from as early as 1955 went missing from the Post Office lobby. When Gary Dannenbaum discovered it in August, he made it his mission to track down as many of the names as possible and replace the plaque. He had been an Eagle Scout dad when his son earned the honor and was determined to not only replace the plaque but to update it.
Dannenbaumâs first move was to spread the word to 22 neighborhoods on nextdoor.com. The next was to create a gofundme account with a goal of $1,000. Gofundme.com/f/replace-and-update-the-eagle-scout-plaque. In his appeal, he asked that everyone who knew any Topanga boys who were Eagle Scouts to contact him with the name, troop number, and the year they earned rank.
âIâm very saddened to learn that the plaque commemorating several generations of young men from Topanga who earned the rank of Eagle Scout is gone,â he wrote. âI know at least six boys and their rank because thatâs around the same time my son, Willem, earned rank.â
Topangan Dana Kimâs son earned the rank in 2019. âIt would be nice to add his name even if the troop was in the Valley,â she wrote. âTraditionally, it's been up to the parents or family of the scout to have the nameplate made for the plaque. Iâd be happy to do that.â
Ryan Anderson wrote: âMy son, Josiah, was the last Eagle added to the plaque in 2018. I asked the postmaster for permission to take it to a trophy place and have it engraved. The next day I returned it to the post office. My 83-year-old father was the first name on the plaque. He made Eagle in 1952 with troop 20.
Eric Dugdale said, âI was a Boy Scout, 1960-1963. âWe used to meet in one of the old school bungalows below the American Legion. I only made it to First Class and Scribe, but I knew Eagles, and my nephew, James, is one.
Best help of all was Eric Schweitzer who submitted an image of the original plaque.
On September 4, Dannenbaum announced they had reached their goal. On October 11, he wrote: âPhase II. The blank plaques arrived and the engraver has done his job beautifully. I've spoken to the postmaster at the post office and she is 100% on board to permanently attach the plaques to the wall. I want to thank everyone who helped and contributed to this project,â Dannenbaum said.
On Tuesday, November 2, he and Kris Liliedahl, levels, drill bits, and plaques in hand, anchored the last screw for the two plaques with room to add the names of those who more recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout and those yet to come. Liliedahl was a former Scoutmaster of Troop 400 and an Eagle Scout dad.
âIâm grateful to Gary and Kris that the plaque is back,â said Postmaster Mabel Christie. âIt was a good thing that Gary did for us all in honor of the Eagle scouts from 1955. Iâm honored to be part of it, too.
Postmistress Mabel Christie, Gary Dannenbaum, and Kris Liliedahl present the completion of what was a true community effort.