The legacy of a Mexico resident and his focus on sportsmanship, volunteerism and charity will continue after his recent death.
The family of J.C. Feger is collecting memorial donations to replace a zipline at the Scouts BSA Camp Hohn at Lake of the Ozarks. They have created a special account with the Scouts BSA to raise the funds to replace the zip line. Plans already were underway for the line prior to Feger's death Dec. 6. Additional funds will go toward replacing harnesses for the climbing wall, other activity maintenance expenses and grants to help youth attend scout camp. More than 400 people attended his funeral, which was held at Missouri Military Academy.
"J.C. [taught] at the climbing tower down there, and he was their life guard in the summer,” Feger's mother Deb said. “He's been going down there at least once a month and they do special projects to help take care of the camp.”
Feger talked scouts through their fear when on the climbing tower, she said. Feger had a great dedication to the Scouts BSA, she added. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, along with receiving the Founder’s Award, Silver Beaver, Vigil Award, Order of the Arrow, former Nampa-Tsi Lodge Chief and Associate Lodge Adviser.
The new zip line, once replaced, will go from the top of the climbing tower down. Feger was a trained EMT so he could volunteer as medical help at the camp over the summer. He kept active with his EMT training in case he needed to help with injuries at camp, Deb Feger said. "He was down [at the camp] once a month," Deb Feger said. "When he wasn't doing Special Olympics, he was down at the Boy Scouts camp."
He worked closely with Troop 57 in Mexico and Troop 90 in Centralia and after his recent employment at Missouri Military Academy as an activities and recreational specialist, he was able to organize a campus troop there.
"He lived and breathed Boy Scouts," Deb Feger said. "He was always collecting memorabilia."
He also worked to fundraise for Camp Hohn through laser engraving products with the camp’s name that could then be sold to raise money for the camp.
Deb Feger has received donations directly, but people can also send memorials through Arnold Funeral Home in Mexico. Fundraising and community-mindedness was Feger's M.O., Deb Feger said. He would fundraise every month for Scouts, and he also did his fundraising for Special Olympics through polar plunges. Feger did 24 polar plunges over a 24-period in February to raise money for Special Olympics.
He already was preparing to fundraise for the next 24-in-24 Super Plunge when he died. Another Super Plunge contestant will take up Feger's mantle, Deb Feger said. Feger also had kind words for anyone who would meet him, she said.
"He never said anything bad about anybody,” Deb Feger said. “He would come up to you and always say, 'Hello, sir,' or 'Hello, ma'am.' He treated kids like they were adults. He always said, 'If you treat a child like a child, they'll be a child, but if you treat them like an adult, they will be an adult."
This sense of charity was part of Feger even when he was younger and a scout. If a fellow scout couldn't afford a trip, he would find a way to make it happen, Deb Feger said.
"He gave everybody encouragement. He always told them, 'You can do what you need to do. You just have to have faith in your own self,'" she said.