Gardens' scouts home after two contract H1N1virus

By Peter Schaller - email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - It's the phone call that no parent wants to get: Your child is sick with the H1N1 virus three states away. It was a reality for two local families of Boy Scouts. Their children in quarantine recovering while the rest of the troop was on alert.

The Boy Scout Troop returned Sunday unpacking with caution.

One scout, Michael Gabriel, said, "It's all over now. Everybody is ok, so I'm happy about it."

Relief for a Palm Beach Gardens Scout Troop unloading after a nightmare in North Carolina. "Well, it started off like any normal summer camp until some kids started getting sick," said Gabriel.

Michael's fellow scouts quarantined at camp were stuck in the health lodge. "It didn't even cross through my mind that anybody had swine flu," said Gabriel.

But two local boys did have the H1N1 virus. They tested positive and were sent home early. It was a deep cleaning for the rest of Troop 150. With gloves and disinfectant, the experts descended on the gear.

Gabriel said, "The health department came by and cleaned all of our stuff, so I feel pretty comfortable with my stuff."

Michael's dad was one of the scout leaders on the trip. "It definitely hit home, but we treated it as best we could with all the information we had every step of the way."

Attention to detail continued Sunday as Scoutmaster Walter Colbath sent his scouts home with strict instructions. "Everything needs to be washed, backpacks need to be spritzed down," ordered Colbath, "The Health Department said that after 10 hours, any kind of virus doesn't live outside the body."

The leaders say this week brought out the best in the boys. They were helping each other through uncertainty. It was a crash course in living up to the organization's core values.