04/25/07 — Scouting hero: Distinguished Citizen Award winner has left his mark

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Scouting hero: Distinguished Citizen Award winner has left his mark

To hear his friends talk about Mike Pate, the most recent winner of the Wayne County Distinguished Citizen Award, you would think he was just a regular guy.

And that’s the point, according to those who attended the Torhunta District of the Boy Scouts of America banquet earlier this week.

The chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Pate-Dawson Co. and a decades-long volunteer with the local Boy Scouts gives back to his hometown, whether it be with the Scouts or through his support of other community service endeavors.

And that commitment to his community began years before that — when he himself was a Boy Scout. That career began in Cub Scouts and ended as an Eagle Scout with the honor of carrying the flag at the World Scout Jamboree in 1947.

Since then, Pate has been an adult volunteer, making sure local young men had the same opportunity to take part in Scouts.

The event marking the honoring of the Boy Scouts’ choice for the group’s top local award is more than just a solemn ceremony.

Part of the fun is to rib the recipient a bit — especially if there are a few people in the audience who can tell a tale or two about the honoree.

And, of course, there always are.

For Pate, that included sometimes less-than-friendly bouts with a golf ball and hair that was more of a topic of conversation than John Edwards’ well-coifed bob.

More than a few laughs were shared about both.

Those who spoke on Pate’s behalf at this week’s banquet told their stories about his foibles, but to a man, they also shared his dedication to his community and his family. There could have been no finer tribute to a man who has been not only a successful businessman, but a pillar of his community, too.

The banquet in Pate’s honor raised more than $22,000 for Boy Scouts — with more pledges also on the books. And that, as well as the example he has provided for young men just beginning their lives, is a pretty fine legacy.

Mike Pate is an example of what can happen when you combine hard work with a little heart and a whole lot of dedication. His receipt of the Distinguished Citizen Award is a chance for his community to say thanks.

Published in Editorials on April 25, 2007 11:14 AM