A Tifton scout was recognized for his act of bravery and heroism at the South Georgia Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s annual recognition banquet, which was held Saturday evening at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village. Sixty-one Eagle Scouts, including several from Tifton, were recognized for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in 2013, and several adults from the surrounding area received leadership awards.
Matthew Collins was awarded the Medal of Merit, a very special award that’s not often presented. During the presentation, Eli Morgan, who serves the Boy Scouts of America as the area commissioner for Area 9, said the Medal of Merit honors scouts, venturers and scouts who have performed an act of meritorious service above and beyond what is normally expected of a youth or adult member of the Boy Scouts of America.
He explained that this act should demonstrate exceptional character that reflects an uncommon degree of concern for the well-being of others. The act does not necessarily need to involve rescue or saving a life, but must demonstrate some aspect of scouting ideals or skills.
Morgan said on April 27 of last year, Collins visited the Battle of Selma Reenactment. While he and his father were working to unload a van, a driverless two-horse carriage passed by on the road. Someone in the distance yelled to “stop that carriage.”
“At that time, Matthew dropped what he was doing and sprinted to catch up with the carriage. He then jumped into the driver’s seat while it was moving and successfully stopped the horses only yards away from a crowded dining area,” Morgan said. “While Matthew has never had any training in horses, he utilized his scout skills and values and prevented a possible tragedy.”
On behalf of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Morgan presented Collins with the Medal of Merit by pinning the award on his uniform while the audience stood and applauded.
In addition, the Silver Beaver award was presented to Helen Chaney, Jamie Benson and Derrick Jackson for being outstanding volunteers and dedicating themselves to scouting in south Georgia. Also receiving the award was William Whitesell, who was unable to attend the banquet.
Prior to the Eagle Scouts being recognized, Joe Bishop with the 2013 District Eagle Scout Board of Review, said attainment of the Eagle rank reflects not only the initiative and diligence of a boy, but also the nurture, care and love of his parents, leaders and circle of friends.
“Many people are catalysts for a scout’s achievement. Perhaps the most important is a concerned, patient and dedicated scoutmaster,” he added.
“As an Eagle Scout, these young men represent scouting’s finest tradition of duty to God and country, duty to others and duty to self. They represent those values that build strong character, strong families and strong communities,” Bishop said.“
He said on behalf of the Valdosta chapter of the Sons of the Amerian Revolution, they are honored to recognize the Eagle Scouts’ good citizenship and outstanding accomplishments with the SAR certificate of recognition. Also, in further recognition of their accomplishment, the South Georgia Council presented the Eagle Scouts with an one of a kind medal to recognize their impact on the council.
“We hope that you will forever cherish your days in scouting and look to the principles and ideals of scouting as a foundation to build your life and your impact on our nation,” Bishop commented.
After the Eagle Scouts were recognized, he asked all Eagle Scouts present in the audience to stand. He said, “For it has been said many times that once an eagle, always an eagle.”
During the banquet, Taylor B. Richter from Troop 15 was recognized as the council’s recipient of the Glenn and Melinda Adams Council Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year. Accepting the award for Richter were his parents. Also, Eagle Scout Matthew Dickinson with Troop 23 installed officers and executive board members, and chairmen of various council finance and program events were recognized.
Saturday’s banquet marked the 104th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America. As the banquet came to a close, Council President Julian Price thanked everyone and congratulated all of the recipients again.
“May 2014 be even more successful than 2013, and I know that with the talent, drive and dedication of those in this room and those that are not, this year will be another great year for the scouts of south Georgia. May our journey together lead to excellence for the youth of our communities.”
To contact reporter Latasha Ford, call 382-4321.Reporter