Cub Scouts host local Navy SEAL for military appreciation night

U.S.Navy Commander Steven Elias with local Cub Scout Pack 734.
(Wei Chen)

Local Cub Scout Pack 734 held its annual military appreciation event on Nov. 16 at Solana Highlands Elementary School. Scouts from every den in the Pack gathered for a visit from special guest U.S.Navy Commander Steven Elias, a Carmel Valley resident.

“I’m pretty proud to serve my country,” said Elias, who currently holds the title of Bull Frog, the longest continuously serving active-duty U.S. Navy SEAL.

Elias has served his country for 42 years as a Navy SEAL in naval special operations and a U.S. Embassy military team leader deploying to various combat areas. After 42 years, he will be retiring in less than 50 days in January.

Elias is also a member of the US Navy Parachute team, The Leap Frogs. As a Leap Frog, he has jumped out into the sky over sports events all across the country a total of 4,737 times. The pack was especially fascinated by a video of Leap Frogs jumping out of a plane with a military dog.

Elias spoke to the Scouts about mental toughness and integrity, doing the right thing when nobody’s around. Although he has been in harsh environments and difficult experiences, he said: “I’ve never been really mentally defeated.”

Cub Scouts with their pack donation to Commander Steven Elias' toy drive.
(Wei Chen)

As part of the November meeting, Cub Scout Pack 734 families donated toys for the Navy Medical Center San Diego, supporting both the pediatric ICU and regular pediatric patients who will be spending time in the hospital over the holidays. Elias and his wife Kirsten have been running the toy drive for the last 12 years, in loving memory of their son.

Elias was wowed by the Cub Scouts’ generosity, saying he doesn’t think they have ever collected that many toys.