The Boy Scout Law says a Scout is “trustworthy, loyal, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” The Boy Scout Oath promises, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” According to everyone who knew him, Cubmaster and Scoutmaster Rick Wimmer was the embodiment of these principles. That’s how he lived his life.
Rick passed away on July 23, 2018, at age 52.
“Rick Wimmer was an exceptional man,” said one of his Eagle Scouts, Daniel Wright. “He was always willing to help his Scouts and community. He lived his life to set an example for what a Scout should be.”
“I am an Eagle Scout because of Rick,” said Virginia Tech engineering student Daniel Webb. “He came into my elementary school and recruited me, among many others, in the first grade. Subsequently, he was my Scoutmaster for around eight years.
“Rick planned many activities for Troop and Pack 18 during my time there,” Webb continued. “Everything he did was for Scouting. There are countless Scouting events going on all the time, on a local and regional level. It would be rare to not find Rick at one of these events. He was always volunteering in some capacity, whether it was helping out at the Blue Ridge Scout Reservation, working with Scouts on their skills, or doing a clean-up day at the church.
“Rick helped countless people in his life become who they are today.” Webb said. “Rick’s Scouts were some of the most important people in his life. He lived the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, and Motto better than anyone I know, helping people at all times and doing a good turn daily. Scouting in the Roanoke Valley has lost a very important member and he will be missed by many. Rick dedicated his life to Scouting and left a lasting legacy in this community.”
Rick not only had a great impact on the lives of the Scouts he worked with, but the adults he volunteered with as well.
“I ‘joined’ Scouts when my son did some 15 years ago,” said Scout leader Greg Pino. “I first met Rick during my training, as he was already in Scouts and entrenched in the Blue Ridge Mountains Council as a valued leader. I remember someone telling me that Rick had joined Cub Scouts as a young boy and never left the program, having worked his way to the top earning his Eagle Scout Rank.
“Sometime after that he moved up to a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, then Scoutmaster,” said Pino. “As long as I have known him he has filled the rolls of Cubmaster for Cub Scouts (in first through fifth grades) and Scoutmaster (for Boy Scouts sixth grade through 18 years old) with Troop 18.
“The first opportunity I got to sit down and start to know Rick was my first trip to Summer Camp as Scoutmaster of Troop 235,” Pino said. “Our troops were camping close to each other. About the second evening of camp I had set my coffee maker up for my morning coffee– water in my percolator, coffee grounds in– all I had to do was light the burner in the morning. The following morning, I was offered a cup of coffee by Rick as the adults in his troop had their coffee brewed already. I had my cup filled as we chatted while with my first sip, a large plastic yellow and black bee hit my mouth. That’s when I found out Rick had a sense of humor.
“I had already been told by another Scouter that the adults’ time at camp was spent drinking coffee and taking naps,” said Pino. “Not with Rick around! Rick had the Ranger set ‘us’ up with a list of projects to keep us busy. Rick really loved the Scouting program and Camp Ottari and worked consistently at improving both.”
Pino noted that “Rick has been a valued member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Council leadership, serving on many committees dedicated to the program’s growth, such as the camping committee for Cub Scouts and Boys Scouts, the training committee to ensure all leaders had the knowledge and/or information needed to carry out a quality program for the boys, and “POPCORN”. Rick could always be found doling out a pack’s or troop’s popcorn.
“Rick did his best to help others at all times, and he was a man that lived up to the Scout Law,” said Pino.
“Rick was an inspiration to us all, boys and adults,” said Scout leader Greg Leslie. “He did a lot of things in our council, the Blue Ridge Mountains Council. Not only has he been a Scoutmaster for Troop 18 for close to 30 years, he has also been the Cubmaster for Pack 18 for about same amount of time. He attended the National Jamboree in 1997 as an Assistant Scoutmaster.
“Rick was awarded the district Award of Merit from the Big Lick District and in 2000 was awarded the Silver Beaver (a volunteer Council Award),” said Leslie.
Leslie said Rick “was instrumental in District New Leader training and was in charge of arranging volunteers to spend weekends at both Camp Powhatan and Camp Ottari. These volunteers would make sure that troops and packs that came and hiked or camped, followed the camp rules while attending. He arranged local flag-retiring ceremonies.
“For many years Rick would spend weekends at Camp Ottari,” said Leslie. “He would work on projects around camp working with the Camp Ranger. He arranged for a permanent shelter in one of the campsites that we use at camp. He volunteered at camp so much we gave him the unofficial title ‘the Assistant Ranger.’
“The year of the Derecho, we were heading up to camp that Saturday,” Leslie said. “The camp’s power was knocked out and did not come back on until Thursday. To make matters worse, the Ranger was having health issues and was told to stay home. Rick, Greg Pino and myself worked from 7 a.m. until dark on generators, electrical panels, and various other things that broke down that week.
“Working with Rick was a fun experience,” Leslie said. “He was untiring when volunteering his time to Scouts. You just cannot replace a person like Rick.”
Pastor Tim Wright of Evangel Foursquare Church, where Troop and Pack 18 met for about 10 years, officiated at Rick’s funeral and interment.
Wright noted that, “Rick lived out the Boy Scout Oath with his life. He was such an outstanding guy. There was nothing you could ask for that he wouldn’t do for you.
“Rick invested a lot in kids’ lives,” Wright said. “He made a way financially for kids to go to camp or participate in any Scouting activities. If there was a need, money appeared; he took care of it. He treated Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts as if they were his own kids.”
Wright said that at the funeral, the Scouts provided a fitting tribute— standing and reciting the Boy Scout Oath.
At the cemetery, about 35 Scouts formed the Scout Circle with which most troops end their meeting, crossing arms, left over right, holding hands, leaving an opening for Rick, followed by a prayer, “May the Great Scoutmaster of all Scouts, be with us, until we meet again.”
“Since Rick was such an influence on all of our troop, we are going to honor him at some of our awards ceremonies with a table setting, or empty chair,” said Leslie.
Surviving Rick are his parents, Richard and Betty Wimmer of Hardy; his brother, Craig Wimmer and wife Stephanie; his uncle, Roger Wimmer; aunt, Ruby Clifton (Ron); nieces, Lauren Sink (Eric) and Kayla Wimmer; grandnieces, Braelyn and Bailee; cousin, Page, and newly born great-cousin, William Henry.
Rick worked for 32 years with Ron Ernest as a property manager of Investco.