The Philomath Scout Lodge will host a free celebration on Saturday, Aug. 6. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

A former employee of Rex and Ethel Clemens, Philomath Scout Lodge board member Carol Stueve gets sentimental when talking about the timber industry couple that was so generous with their money.

“They were, I want to say, ordinary, kind and caring people,” Stueve said, searching for the right words to describe them. “I worked for them for a few years and they were just normal, you know, just kind and generous people. To look at them, you’d never know they had any money. … They never had any children, so all the kids and adults that they gave scholarships to were all kind of like their kids.”

A special celebration event open to all will be staged at the Philomath Scout Lodge from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6. Rex and Ethel Clemens and the Clemens Foundation will be honored as part of the festivities along with all of those who have contributed toward the establishment of the Philomath Scout Lodge.

The event is free with lunch, live music by “Swamp Grass” and a bounce house set up for the kids. Organizers are asking those planning to attend to please RSVP so they can make plans for how much to prepare. RSVP by sending an email to psli@peak.org or responding on the Philomath Scout Lodge’s Facebook page, where an event listing was set up.

Scout Lodge volunteers will also be giving tours of the building for those who would like to take a closer look and learn more about the facility.

Event organizers would like to highlight how the Philomath Scout Lodge has impacted lives with a display of completed questionnaires from participants. The questionnaire is available at this link and can be emailed to psli@peak.org or printed out and mailed to P.O. Box 662, Philomath, OR 97370.

“We’re probably going to display those on a clothesline-type of thing,” Stueve said. “It’s so people can see what they did and where they’re from and what they took (academically) and whatever … and those will be given to the foundation afterwards.”

Printed-out versions of the questionnaire will also be available to fill out at the event.

“We’d really like to get more of these thank-yous from people so the Clemens Foundation can see the difference that they made and we can see where people live now after they get the scholarship or anything like that — where it’s taken people and where they went to school,” board member Chloe Chambers said. “All of that would just be great information to learn and see.”

Chambers said the idea to celebrate Rex and Ethel Clemens as part of a celebration grew out of a suggestion put forth by board member Bill Mayer.

“We formed a committee from our board and decided to get together and think of some things to do in their honor,” Chambers said.

Beyond the recognition for the timber industry couple and the foundation established in their name, the celebration is also a way for the Scout Lodge to offer a thank you to all of the other people and organizations who have donated in any way over the years.

The 11,000-square-foot lodge sits on 58 acres of wetlands and natural habitat within the Philomath city limits. The property was once home to Clemens Mill.

The Philomath Scout Lodge’s beginnings date back to 2001 with an idea and through fundraising such as the “buy-a-brick campaign,” various grants, donated materials and thousands of volunteer hours, was finished seven years later. Many in the community got their first look at the building on Sept. 27, 2008, at a grand opening ceremony.

Just over a decade later in late 2019, the Philomath Scout Lodge made its final loan payment and continues forward debt-free with only month-to-month maintenance expenses in addition to any other projects that come up. For example, the lodge is currently raising money to erect a new veterans memorial.

The Philomath Scout Lodge is located at 660 Clemens Mill Road. For more information, visit the organization’s website or Facebook page.

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