SAINT AUGUSTINE – More than 100 friends and relatives gathered Nov. 19 at the home of Edward Kent to wish him a happy 100th birthday.
The weekend before Kent, who turned 100 on Nov. 12, spent part of his birthday weekend rowing down the Suwannee River using one of the set of paddles he hand crafted. Involved in Boy Scouting since 1954, Kent and his scouting family enjoy twice-a-year camping outings on the Suwannee using canoe paddles made during regular sessions at Kent’s home, south of St. Augustine Beach. Some 40 campers gathered for the mid-November camping experience launching 18 canoes and two kayaks on the river.
Kent was born Nov. 12, 1917, in Hamilton Township, N.J. The Nov. 19 celebration, attended by all ages, featured everything from barbecue and hot dogs to a huge birthday cake topped with 100 candles. Among those spearheading the celebration was Randy Andrews. “He’s made a huge impact on my life,” Andrews said in July during a paddle-making session at the Kent home. Andrews has been involved in scouting “since May 26, 1971,” since “I was 12,” at first as a scout and later in leadership positions.
It was “probably 10 years ago we convinced him to teach us how to do it,” Andrews said during that July conversation of the paddle-making classes. Participants, who gathered in Kent’s garage for the weekly sessions, were all related to scouting in some way. Canoeing, Andrews noted , is an important part of Troop 345, now sponsored by Elks Lodge No. 829. Patrick Naughton is the current scout master, and many of the current scouts from that troop were on hand Nov. 19 to wish Kent a happy 100th.