03/06/09 — Roosevelt impersonator to perform at Scout kickoff benefit

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Roosevelt impersonator to perform at Scout kickoff benefit

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 6, 2009 1:46 PM

An entertainer who portrays President Theodore Roosevelt will appear at the kickoff event for the Friends of Scouting Campaign this month.

Joe Wiegand will arrive in character as the Roughrider president at 6 p.m. for social hour in the Walnut Creek Country Club on March 24, and he will remain in character through the entire evening, Tuscarora Boy Scout Council Executive Harold Keller said.

Wiegand is a nationally known historian, teacher, lecturer and student of government and foreign policies. And he has studied up on his audience of 500 or so current and new contributors invited to attend the event.

"(Wiegand) also researches whoever he is speaking to," Keller said. "He's up on the organization and his audience. He combines Roosevelt with current events. It should be a very entertaining evening for our guests."

Roosevelt is special to Scouts, Keller said. Around the time the president was leaving office, he gave enthusiastic and vocal support to the national Scouting movement. Having started in 1910, the movement was still in its infancy then.

"(Roosevelt) spoke on numerous occasions about Scouting and was a huge help in getting the word out about Scouting," Keller said. "We thought he would be an ideal choice."

The March 24 event is the first of two fundraisers that will be held during the 2009 Friends of Scouting Campaign. The second will be the Distinguished Citizen Award banquet, which will be held in April. The recipient this year will be Sam Hunter, president and CEO of T. A. Loving Co.

The goal this year is to raise $260,000, which makes up 25 percent of the council's budget.

"We hope to wrap up the campaign by the first of May," Keller said. "That way, we can focus on programs for the children rather than raising money."

At the end of last year, he said, the council served almost 6,600 children, an all-time high that placed Tuscarora as No. 1 in membership growth throughout the Southeastern Region's 13 states.