01/28/13 — Council honors 120 Eagle Scouts, longtime volunteers

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Council honors 120 Eagle Scouts, longtime volunteers

By John Joyce
Published in News on January 28, 2013 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- More than 120 boys earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Tuscarara Council this past year -- a council record -- and they were honored with a reception Sunday.

Also, four adults active in Scouting were presented with the Silver Beaver Award, the highest adult honor presented by the Boy Scouts of America.

Not all of the Eagle Scouts were able to attend the ceremony at Byrd Assembly Hall in Mount Olive, but about 45 were on hand and the sight of so many young men in uniform, with proud parents and Scout leaders in attendance, filled the auditorium.

The event was the council's 90th annual volunteer and Eagle Scout Recognition Reception, held in the J. William and Marius "Marcy" E. Byrd Assembly Hall, adjacent to Mount Olive College.

Eagle Scouts have been recognized since 1912, said Council Executive Tim Harper, making it the 100th anniversary of the award, the highest in Scouting.

Following the Pledge of Allegiance and the retirement of the colors, which were presented by the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Color Guard, each Eagle Scout was called up on stage by his full name, troop number and sponsoring organization.

Peter J. "P.J." Gilmartin and Ryan J. Kronz were among the scouts honored Sunday.

"The requirement is just 21 badges, but actually, you do a lot more to earn it," Gilmartin said. He is a senior at Clayton High School and has been involved in Scouting since the second grade.

"It's about being a role model, be someone the other younger scouts can look up to," Kronz said. He joined Scouts a year after Gilmartin, and both received their Eagle Scout honors in February of last year.

Also honored at the reception were lifelong volunteers Connie Barton, Ray Bryant, Danny Jackson and Doris Offield. They were awarded the Silver Beaver badge, which recognizes extraordinary service to Scouting.

"The Silver Beaver is the highest honor we can bestow upon our volunteers," Harper said.

"You're just blown away because you didn't think you'd be nominated," Ms. Offield said.

The award cannot be earned by any set list of achievements. Silver Beavers are nominated by their peers and selected for their displayed dedication and service. The Tuscarora Council has been honoring Silver Beavers since 1933, when Herman Weil was the first to receive the honor. Nearly 250 people have since been recognized for their dedication to Scouting.

"The more service you do, the better. I'm a believer of the old 'It takes a village to raise a child,'" Ms. Offield said. Her three sons are Eagle Scouts and she has been involved in Scouting for more than 40 years.

One of her sons is currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. She said he is deployed overseas at the present, to "destinations unknown," and she is certain that he is using every bit of his Scout training.

"It (Scouting) makes a difference in lives, and it saves lives," Ms. Offield said.

The Tuscarora Council includes Scout troops in Wayne, Johnston, Duplin and Sampson counties.