CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The city that's home to Harvard and MIT solidified its nickname as "The People's Republic of Cambridge" when it put a stop to a Boy Scout troop's Election Day drive to collect care packages for American soldiers in Iraq, claiming it was "political."
“We just wanted to make a lot of troops happy,” Scout Patrick O’Connor told the Boston Herald.
The big-hearted Scouts from Cambridge Troop 45 had placed donation boxes at the city's 33 polling stations in hopes of collecting toiletries, magazines, candy and other items after one of O'Connor's relatives was injured in an IED explosion while serving in Iraq.
But someone complained to the city, allegedly claiming the boxes were a “political statement,” and the boxes were removed.
“I was devastated that someone would think to take (the donation boxes) out,” O'Connor told the newspaper.
“This was not about supporting the war or any politician or political view," troop committee chairman Jamisean Patterson told the Herald. "This was supporting the brave men and women who are stationed overseas.”
Patterson said the Scouts obtained a verbal OK from the city election commission and polling station officials.
Cambridge Vice Mayor Timothy J. Toomey Jr. told the Herald that a breakdown in communication, rather than malice, led to the boxes being removed.
“Boy Scouts Troop 45’s efforts to support our troops are a benefit for the entire community, and the council will be working with them to ensure that their goals are fully realized,” he said in a written statement.