When no one would lead the Boy Scout troop in which Marshall Tyre grew up, he stepped in.

That was in 1971, when Tyre was 17. He has been leading Troop 44 ever since.

“My goal is to show the boys that there is something besides the street,” say Tyre, who is also known as Benny. “The Boy Scouts are the oldest gang in America, and we don’t get people into trouble. I know that there is a need out there, and a lot of adults don’t have the time or take the time.

“I enjoy it. I can be a kid, or I can be an adult. You can’t be a looker. You’ve got to be a doer.”

Tyre’s troop is sponsored by the Men’s Bible Class of First United Methodist Church and his Cub Pack 902 is sponsored by the PTA at Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary, where Tyre works as a computer assistant.

Tyre has worked for DISD for 19 years, he says, and has volunteered at Fannin, David Crockett (also a sponsor of Pack 902) and Zaragoza elementaries.

Over the years, he has worked in several capacities at the schools, including physical education aide at Fannin, a position that required him to hold an evening job to support himself and his wife, Hilda.

“I love a challenge,” says Tyre, who has received the Silver Beaver award, one of Scouting’s highest honors for distinguished service to youth.

“If you fall down, you pick yourself right back up and go. That’s what I tell the kids.”

Tyre’s biggest challenge seems to be getting other adults involved with this troop and raising money so that all of the boys can have uniforms and attend summer camps.

He spends approximately $2,000 a year out of his own pocket to keep Troop 44 going. If troop members need help paying dues, Tyre and his wife give them jobs around their house to teach them they can get what they want by working for it, one of the Scouts’ goals.

Older boys who were helped by Tyre come back and assist him with the troop. Most of the boys Tyre leads are Hispanic, but he doesn’t speak much Spanish. The older Scouts are a great asset in overcoming language barriers, Tyre says.

Although there may be communication gaps, Tyre says he can relate to the neighborhood boys.

Tyre’s father died when he was 6 years old, and his mother raised him alone. He grew up in the neighborhood and attended Fannin elementary for a while as a child. Tyre says he may have turned out differently if not for the Boy Scouts.

“I love the program so much because it does so much for the boys,” he says. “I’ve been in this since I was 8 years old. It’s molded into me now.”

“The troop is my kids,” says Tyre, who has no children of his own. “When I see those little eyes open up, I know I’ve broken through.”

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