RALLYING THE TROOPS
Byline: Valerie Seckler
NEW YORK — Gene Kahn, executive vice chairman of May Department Stores Co., has returned to his roots as a Boy Scout in the Bronx, pledging to help raise $1.8 million to benefit the Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils.
Kahn; Anthony Torcasio, vice chairman of May Co.; James Lewis, president of Liz Claiborne Casuals, and other industry members gathered with three local scout troops at “21” Tuesday, launching the effort to drum up funds for scouts with disabilities.
The eight-week campaign will be capped by the 1997 “Retail & Fashion Good Scout Award Luncheon,” where Kahn and Torcasio will be honored as recipients of the “Good Scout” award, given annually to those who exemplify the ideals expressed in the Boy Scout oath.
“The Boy Scout oath calls for being the best you can be physically, mentally and spiritually,” observed Torcasio, who is also president and chief executive officer of May Merchandising. “You can see that Gene and I need help in at least two of the categories.”
As laughs filled the room, he added, “And you thought ‘physically’ was one of the categories I meant.”
On a serious note, Kahn said, “We’ll make every effort to rise to this occasion. As a former Boy Scout, I will try to learn as much as I can about scouting in New York City to aid the fund-raising.”
Lewis, who filled in for Liz Claiborne chairman Paul R. Charron, who was unable to attend, pointed out that the money contributed helps support scouting activities in classrooms, on field trips and at a summer camp operated by the Boy Scouts.
It costs over $550 a week, for instance, to send scouts with disabilities to Camp Kalikow in Alpine, N.J., where there is one counselor for every two camp-ers.
The expense for children without special needs is $170. Kalikow is the first camp in the U.S. created for Boy Scouts with disabilities.
About 85 percent of the proceeds from the luncheon will go directly to scouting programs and other activities for children with disabilities, noted William T. Sullivan, director of finance services, Greater New York Councils.
“I’m glad the bar has been raised to $1.8 million tonight,” said Terry Lundgren, president and chief merchandising officer of Federated Department Stores Inc., of the luncheon’s goal.
“I’m sure that Paul Charron established the [earlier] $1.5 million target because he likes a goal he can beat,” he said.