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PHOTOS: Passing the briefcase



The briefcase was passed. Troop 33 has a new Scoutmaster.

David Lanar handed the unofficial symbol of command to Tim Miller, as it was handed to him in 2004 when he assumed office.

Lanar served as Boy Scout Troop 33 Scoutmaster for 9 years, Cub Scout Pack-master for 2 years prior, and Den-leader for 5 years before that.


A Boy Scout in his youth – Lanar reached the exalted rank of Eagle Scout at age 14 – he re-upped when his son Bobby became a Cub Scout in 1997.  32 scouts, including Bobby, rose to Eagle Scout rank during Lanar’s term.

Lanar led a generation of Takoma Park Boy Scouts through some of the national scouting organization’s most controversial years during which, under conservative leadership, the Boy Scouts of America denied membership to openly gay people.

On behalf of Troop 33 Lanar officially protested this policy, which the national scouting organization recently moderated to allow gay scouts, but not gay adult scout leaders.

The hand-over

New Scoutmaster Tim Miller was also an Eagle Scout. Like Lanar, he returned to scouting when his son Ryan joined. Ryan is an Eagle Scout as well.

The briefcase hand-over ceremony, held July 27, was in Lanar’s lush back yard. The ground was damp and the air was hazy following a shower, but the clouds held back their rain though the event. The scouts were, of course, prepared for more rain. There were canopies and tarps expertly strung over crucial areas, especially the barbeque grills.

More than half of the approximately 70 people attending wore khaki uniform shirts – but with diverse styles and colors of bandanas, hats, and shorts.

Lanar and his wife Sue Tripp, new Scoutmaster Miller and his wife Sue Fridgen, and other scout leaders followed the flag and troop colors to the front. After the pledge of allegiance Lamar’s son Bobby took the microphone, leading the assembled scouts of all ages in reciting the scout oath and scout law.

Master of ceremonies Carl Elefante introduced Lanar, crediting the Scoutmaster for his son Stephen’s advancement to Eagle Scout rank.


Boyish energy and attitude abounded, from the bellowed verses of “God Bless My Underwear,” to the awkward encounter between the troop colors and a low tree limb. Lanar himself, though grizzled and bearded, had some boyish moments as he spoke to the crowd of about a hundred scouts, leaders, and parents. He joked that the briefcase held secret codes revealing the location of the “Scoutmaster cave,” which featured duct-taped walls, chainsaws, and a 52” television tuned to a non-stop sports channel.

In reality, he admitted, the briefcase held the troop’s charter and other papers.

He told the assembled troop members, parents, and supporters that the troop was “all about you,” not him. He said he was impressed with Tim Miller’s service as a scout leader and was confident that the troop was in good hands.


A dozen Eagle Scouts read aloud a recent-passed mayoral proclamation honoring Lanar and his accomplishments.

Bobby Lanar, 21, said he was responsible for his father’s scouting career. At age 7 or 8 he heard about scouting at school, told his parents he wanted to join, but only if his dad would be the den-leader. His father did, then he became cub-master. A couple of “crazy years” followed, said young Lanar, in which his father was both Cub-master and Scoutmaster.

Bobby said that being a scout taught him leadership and organizational skills he uses as an adult. He is enrolled at University of Maryland, College Park. Sally Lanar, his older sister, recently finished graduate school in Paris, France, and works in Switzerland at the University of Geneva. She returned to Takoma Park for the change-of-command ceremony.



Retiring Scoutmaster David Lanar.


Photo by Bill Brown


Photo by Bill Brown


Bobby and Sally Lanar. Photo by Bill Brown


Scout leader Mark Verschell.


Scouts and parents of Troop 33.


David Lanar and wife Sue Tripp.


Mark Verschel on left makes Sue Tripp and Dave Lanar smile.


Scoutmaster David Lanar shakes his son Bobby’s hand during Lanar’s retirement ceremony.


Eagle Scouts.


Eagle Scouts with Dave Lanar, outgoing Scoutmaster.


Left to right: outgoing Troop 33 scoutmaster David Lanar, his wife Sue Tripp, incoming scoutmaster Tim Miller and his wife Sue Fridgen.


Scoutmaster Lanar addresses the assembled Troop 33.


Lanar and Miller review briefcase contents.


Miller and Lanar pose with the briefcase. At left are Carl Elefante, Mark Verschell, and a young scout.


Bruce Andersen.


Carl Elephante and Mark Verschell at left watch as Alex Rice presents a commemorative pancake to outgoing scoutmaster David Lanar at right.


Scoutmasters Lanar and Miller.


Bobby Lanar, Eagle Scout.


Retiring Scoutmaster David Lanar.lanarIMG_6553IMG_6455bIMG_6466IMG_6467IMG_6495Photo by Bill BrownIMG_6487Photo by Bill BrownBobby and Sally Lanar. Photo by Bill BrownIMG_6520IMG_6537Scout leader Mark Verschell.IMG_6542IMG_6548Scouts and parents of Troop 33.IMG_6563IMG_6565David Lanar and wife Sue Tripp.IMG_6576IMG_6583IMG_6588IMG_6609IMG_6616Mark Verschel on left makes Sue Tripp and Dave Lanar smile.Scoutmaster David Lanar shakes his son Bobby's hand during Lanar's retirement ceremony.Eagle Scouts.Eagle Scouts with Dave Lanar, outgoing Scoutmaster.Left to right: outgoing Troop 33 scoutmaster David Lanar, his wife Sue Tripp, incoming scoutmaster Tim Miller and his wife Sue Fridgen.IMG_6667Scoutmaster Lanar addresses the assembled Troop 33.Lanar and Miller review briefcase contents.Miller and Lanar pose with the briefcase. At left are Carl Elefante, Mark Verschell, and a young scout.IMG_6699Bruce Andersen.Carl Elephante and Mark Verschell at left watch as Alex Rice presents a commemorative pancake to outgoing scoutmaster David Lanar at right.Scoutmasters Lanar and Miller.IMG_6732Bobby Lanar, Eagle Scout.IMG_6745IMG_6749

About the author: William Allen-Depraw

Will Allen-DuPraw is a Visual Art major at Brown University and a nearly life-long resident of Takoma Park. He is an avid photographer and is pursuing a career in photojournalism. He also enjoys drumming and playing video games. His work viewed on my Photobucket profile here:

1 comment

  1. Sue Tripp says:

    Hi – please pass this email on to Bill Brown. I love the photos and would like copies of some of them at higher resolution so I can print them. Also Bill mentioned there are some photos that did not get in the group, that I might like to crop and then print. Please ask him to email me at – I am the wife of Dave Lanar. thanks!