A Dedicated Scouter’s Legacy of Being Prepared for Life

This story was submitted by Ronelle (“Ronnie”) Genser.

Sandy’s Legacy

Sandy and Ronnie, 2008

My name is Ronelle (“Ronnie”) Genser. My late husband, Sanford (“Sandy”) Weinberg was a 54-year Scouter. Sandy was born in Newark, NJ in 1950 and grew up in Livingston, NJ. He died on October 8, 2011 at age 61 from complications of an unexpected massive heart attack on September 29, 2011.

As an Eagle Scout and dedicated Scouter, Sandy was also a Life Member of the Boy Scouts of America, a member of the Order of the Arrow, and in 1993 while residing in Philadelphia he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Cradle of Liberty Council.

When Sandy moved to Atlanta in 2004, he immediately joined the Atlanta Area Council. He served on its Executive Board and was a James E. West Fellow. He also served on the Atlanta Area Council’s safety and security committee and taught many Wilderness First Aid and CPR Saturday courses. On the national level, Sandy served on the International Committee, the Jewish Committee on Scouting, and taught international courses at Philmont Scout Ranch. He also attended several national and international jamborees, where he taught Merit Badges on their Merit Badge Midways.

While many of Sandy’s long-time friends wrote wonderful tributes in his guestbook on the funeral home’s online obituary page, I was especially touched by David Shulman of Westfield, New Jersey’s remembrance of Sandy as always being prepared.

“I remember Sandy giving a talk nearly 40 years ago at Dickinson College on surviving and coping with emergencies, including carrying a Band-Aid in your wallet. I still carry one.”

Right after Sandy died, I found two brand new, full-length, good quality packable raincoats in his suitcases in case it rained when he traveled – a very thick clear plastic one which I wore the day of his funeral at the cemetery when it looked like it would pour – and the other a lighter weight navy blue nylon one, which I now wear all the time when it rains.

A while later when cleaning out his office, I found his hard hat and weather transistor radio. After discovering the batteries were corroded, it became a reminder to me to ‘Be Prepared’ for a loss of electricity and my cell phone running out of power. It motivated me to buy a new transistor radio and fresh batteries, both of which I now store separately inside the hard hat. With these items, a great flashlight, and having identified a ‘safe place’ in my house during extreme weather conditions, I am at peace because I am prepared.

“Being Prepared” also refers to when “a life is in danger. A Scout is prepared, because a Scout is trained and knows in advance what to do.”

Scout Field Book, p. 16, 1948.

Prepared Even Now

More recently and perhaps most important of all is when the U.S. government first announced that to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we should all wear face masks. Had Sandy not previously created two backpacks full of emergency supplies if we ever had to evacuate our home, I would never have immediately had two new light blue face masks to wear when COVID-19 struck – one from each backpack.

I clearly remember the afternoon he came into my home office asking me for two sets of my underwear and telling me he was building these backpacks. Nothing alarming was going on that day, but he was insistent I give him these things at that time. I felt he must have come from a Scout meeting or event or had received a message from Scouting that sparked his urgency and commitment to do this.

It was only a few weeks before COVID-19 struck when, out of curiosity, I finally opened the backpacks for the first time and learned their complete contents. Hence, I am eternally grateful to Scouting.

I am blessed to have been married to Sandy. He was an amazing man and a loving husband who left a legacy of being:

  • A good man.
  • Loyal. Sandy made many long-time friends during his 54 years in Scouting, some of whom became my friends, for which I am grateful.
  • Respectful of others. Sandy treated everyone equally no matter their background or position in life.
  • Kind in understanding the need of others. He taught me that in Scouting there is always a place for everyone.
  • Helpful. He looked forward to and loved volunteering, especially in areas of safety and health.
  • Prepared. Part of the meaning of the Scout motto, “Be Prepared” is to be “ready to meet the (unforeseen) challenges of life”.

For me, “Be Prepared” has become much more than a slogan because even many years after Sandy’s death, his commitment to “Be Prepared”, especially during difficult and challenging times, has provided me with this additional and very tangible legacy, which I continue to cherish.

May his memory be for a blessing…

Ronnie Genser

2010 National Jamboree (Sandy pictured 9th from the right)

Sandy was the author of more than 15 books and numerous publications, most notably on FDA regulatory affairs. At the time of his death, he worked as a Professor of Health Care Management and was the Executive Director, Center for Clinical Studies and Regulation, Clayton State University. He was also the Executive Editor of the Journal of Clinical Studies and Regulatory Affairs, published by Informa Healthcare.