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Boy Scouts celebrated at fundraiser
Al Burke named 2013 Good Scout Honoree
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After receiving the 2013 Good Scout award during a Boy Scouts banquet at Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church Monday, Al Burke thanks guest speaker and WTOC-TV news anchor Sonny Dixon, left, for being involved and suggested that more professionals and local businesses should get involved in scouting to serve as mentors. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    Boy Scouts and their supporters were commended Monday for service to the community and dedication to the group’s moral ideals.
    The local Friends of Scouting organization hosted its fourth annual Good Scout Banquet at Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church to support The Boy Scouts of America, Ogeechee District.
    More than 100 Scouts — representing Boy Scouts of America Troops 342 and 332 — parents and business owners gathered to celebrate and promote scouts and scouting programs.
    WTOC-TV news anchor Sonny Dixon, a former state representative, headlined the program as keynote speaker.
    Dixon praised young men for embodying characteristics listed in the Scout Law — loyalty, trustworthiness, cheerfulness and others — that he believes are rarer now than ever.
    “(In my youth), my grandfather, a pure dirt farmer, would convey to me the fundamentals of life. He’d say, ‘Boy, when you see a dollar on the ground, you don’t know whose that is, but you know whose it ain’t.’ Or ‘A man’s word is his bond. You tell you a man you’re going to do something, by God you got to do it,’” Dixon said. “Young people don’t necessarily hear that kind of thing anymore. Sometimes I wonder who is teaching these young ’uns — nobody. If I could bring my granddaddy back to life, I would let some of these children spend just about one afternoon with him in the tobacco field. They would learn a few things.”
    But, “that perspective could just as easily be derived if those children simply became Scouts,” Dixon continued. “Because y’all get it. You’re honorable. You’re trustworthy.”
    Dixon said he enjoys occasionally reacquainting himself with words, and their array of meanings, when stumbling across them in the dictionary. He said a word he stumbled upon recently seemed to apply, in many ways, to Scouts.
    “Webster’s Dictionary lists 18 definitions for the word ‘spirit’ — definitions range from disposition to demonology. But certain ones seemed to jump out at me,” Dixon said. “Young men wearing the uniform of the Scouts understand the spirit of character in a man, the spirit of enthusiasm, and the spirit of a bonding agent that holds us all together.”
    “Scouts and Scout supporters, please, keep the spirit,” he urged.
    Several other speakers took the podium Monday, in an event where Scouts served dinner to their guests, including an Eagle Scout currently attending Georgia Southern University.
    “Scouting is an important, very powerful program. It instills values in us — teaches us lessons and empowers us. It produces men — men of courage, men of loyalty and men of ambition,” said Gerrad Bell, a member of the university’s Epsilon Tau Pi Eagle Scout Fraternity. “Scouting changes people’s lives. It gives us confidence in ourselves, our abilities and our country. I can honestly say that I have learned a lot more in scouting than I have in many other places.”
    Friends of Scouting presented its 2013 Good Scout award — a recognition given to individuals who have shown a lifetime of support for the Boy Scouts.
    This year’s honoree was former scoutmaster, and longtime Scout, Al Burke.
    “I really appreciate (the honor),” Burke said.
    For more information about the Boy Scouts of America, or to find a local troop, visit www.scouting.org.
   
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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