Retiring Barrington Scoutmaster impacted a generation of young men

A change of command and farewell ceremony was held at Barrington Town Beach last month. Pictured in the forefront are (from left to right) departing Scoutmaster of 13 years, Frank Santoro; incoming Scoutmaster, Greg Voigt; and Troop Committee Chairman Steve Tortolani. A change of command and farewell ceremony was held at Barrington Town Beach last month. Pictured in the forefront are (from left to right) departing Scoutmaster of 13 years, Frank Santoro; incoming Scoutmaster, Greg Voigt; and Troop Committee Chairman Steve Tortolani.

A change of command and farewell ceremony was held at Barrington Town Beach last month. Pictured in the forefront are (from left to right) departing Scoutmaster of 13 years, Frank Santoro; incoming Scoutmaster, Greg Voigt; and Troop Committee Chairman Steve Tortolani.

A change of command and farewell ceremony was held at Barrington Town Beach last month. Pictured in the forefront are (from left to right) departing Scoutmaster of 13 years, Frank Santoro; incoming Scoutmaster, Greg Voigt; and Troop Committee Chairman Steve Tortolani.

Barrington resident Frank Santoro has retired. Again. The longtime Troop 2 Scoutmaster stepped down from his position last month, and handed over the reigns to Greg Voigt. Mr. Santoro has also retired from the U.S. Navy, where he concluded his 22 years of service as a commander. He said he plans to spend his newfound free time with his family.

• Sacrifices made for Scouts: “It was definitely a challenge. My wife, Margaret, deserves a lot of the credit. She had to pick up a lot of the slack at home.”

• First tour: “I got started with becoming a leader back in 1996, with Pack 476 in Florence, S.C. I went down there (for work) for a couple of years… I started out as an assistant with Weblos. Then I became Scoutmaster in Troop 476… And I did that for a little over a year until I was transferred back here.”

• Good friends: Mr. Santoro became an assistant in Troop 2 and “struck up a good friendship with (fellow Scoutmaster) Chris Dewhirst … Chris was a retired commander from the Coast Guard. It made things smooth … we were not quite finishing each other’s sentences, but …”

• Worthwhile: “The real benefit is what you see coming out of the young men — the confidence, the joy when they light their first fire … that’s the real joy.”

• Many Eagles: I had the opportunity to mentor 42 Eagle Scouts, and there are three more of mine who are coming up right now.” Troop 2 boasts more than 205 Eagle Scouts in its history.

• Scouting vs. video games: “A lot of the boys, they still play video games, but the boys that go through this also understand that there are responsibilities and there are rewards to those responsibilities. There’s a lot of work, goal-setting, a lot of leadership.” 

• In good shape: “I know I’m leaving the troop in a good state. Membership is healthy. There’s a good, solid base.”

• Willing to travel: Mr. Santoro said some scouts are willing to make a lengthy trip to remain as members of Troop 2. He said one boy, Jonathan Ludovico, traveled two hours from Princeton, Mass. to stay with Troop 2 after his family moved out of Barrington. Jonathan made Eagle Scout in 2012, Mr. Santoro said.

• History: Troop 2 has a 93-year history, making it one of the oldest troops in the nation. It has had 19 Scoutmasters; Mr. Santoro’s leadership tenure was one of the longest.

• Military ties: Troop 2 has had six US service academy attendees in the last decade.

• All in the family: Mr. Santoro’s sons, John Eric, 27, made Eagle Scout in 2003, and Sam, 17, made Eagle Scout in 2011. 

• Parting words: “I appreciate the opportunity to work with all those boys … They are my boys. They’re not my sons, but they’re my boys.”

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