Annual scout troop ornament commemorates Derby-Shelton Bridge

SHELTON — Election Day ushers in another longtime Shelton tradition — the Troop 28 ornament sale. 

The ornament sale has been an Election Day tradition for three decades, and this year’s pewter creation pays tribute to the Derby-Shelton Bridge, which is now undergoing major renovations. 

Troop 28 members will be selling the ornaments for $12 at Mohegan, Elizabeth Shelton and Shelton Intermediate schools on Nov. 8 from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. This is the troop’s major fundraiser.

The ornaments are made representing various locations in the city, from churches to the library, police headquarters to several of the city's schools. 

“This brings the community to life,” said Greg Marty, a Troop 28 volunteer and ornament coordinator, about the annual sale. "This year we chose the bridge because of the reconstruction going on. We thought that would be a good way to go."

Marty said purchasing the ornaments has become a tradition for many residents. Besides the amount purchased locally each year, Marty said he also gets ornament requests from families as far as North Carolina.

“They lived in Shelton for 25 years and always bought the ornaments,” Marty said. “They just wanted to keep the tradition going.” 

Marty said brainstorming among troop members on the year’s ornament begins in March and April. Once a location is selected, a friend of the troop then creates a drawing, which may undergo some revisions.

Once complete, the rendering is sent to Woodbury Pewter, which does an official drawing which is given back to the troop for final approval. The company then produces a run of the new ornament — 350 this year — with each scout asked to sell at least 20. 

The ornament sale began some three decades ago. Previous fundraisers for the troop had been candy sales, which barely generated enough funds to cover the troop's operating expenses and didn't cover things like new camping equipment or troop outings.

Former Scoutmaster Paul Uhrynowski, Sr. said Pamala Basher, whose son was in the troop at the time, wanted to have the boys generate the necessary funds to be able to run a first-class program.

She introduced the concept of having custom made Christmas ornaments made by a Connecticut pewter company. The idea was to highlight notable buildings and locations in the Shelton area. The committee came up with its first subject, the gazebo on the Huntington Green.

With the subject approved, Uhrynowski said Basher committed the troop to a certain number of ornaments and "we held our breath."

But that first year sales were brisk.

"And we were on our way," he said.

After that initial success, the fundraiser was continued, highlighting prominent buildings and locations within the community.

The troop has ornaments from some past years for those people looking to collect old ornaments. To obtain those old ornaments or purchase this year’s version, email gregorymarty@sbcglobal.net. 

Troop 28 is sponsored by the Mohegan School PTO and meets Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. To date, the troop has had 89 Eagle Scouts.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com