“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law,” Boy Scout Timothy Beers, 11, said Thursday as he led a group of veteran scouts in reciting the organization’s oath.
Beers, a member of Coastal Empire Council, Liberty District, Troop 500, isn’t much taller than the wooden podium he stood behind in a classroom at Hinesville’s First United Methodist Church, where prominent local citizens — all of whom are former scouts — had gathered for the sixth annual Good Scout award breakfast.
During the yearly event, the Liberty District recognizes one of its own or someone from the community who has made a significant impact on scouting. This year’s “Good Scout” honor went to George Ginter, who joined the Boy Scouts on Feb. 19, 1943, when he was only 9 years old. He became an Eagle Scout five years later and never has failed to register each year with the Scouts, even during the 24 and a half years he served in the Army. Ginter said the map-reading and patrolling skills he learned in scouting helped him breeze through basic training, and the survival skills he picked up in scouting helped him during deployments to Korea and Vietnam.
Good Scout District Chairman Dr. Glenn Carter, who served as moderator for the ceremony, praised Ginter’s long, distinguished history with scouting, saying he exemplifies scouting values and the good things scouting has done in the community.
“While I was sitting with Sheriff (Steve) Sikes, I realized I was eating breakfast with six (other) Eagle Scouts (including Sikes),” said volunteer and Eagle Scout Guy Browning, who, along with Carter, presented the Good Scout trophy to Ginter. The award is a statuette of a bald eagle — the Boy Scouts’ symbol. “I thought, ‘what an honor it is to be here.’”
Browning said he was glad the breakfast was held at the same church he attended when he began scouting many years ago.
An informational “Friends of Scouting” pamphlet provided by United Methodist Church Senior Pastor Richard Wright, who also is a former scout and Army Ranger, noted that for every 100 boys who enter scouting, 12 will have their first contact with a church, one will use scouting skills to save someone’s life, eight will enter a vocation they learned via the merit-badge system, three will become Eagle Scouts and 99.8 percent who complete the scouting program will never end up in front of a juvenile judge.
“My wife tells me I need to slow down,” said Ginter after receiving his trophy. He joked that he may have to give up scouting anyway since age and arthritis have made it nearly impossible to hold his little finger with his thumb in order to recite the oath. “With God’s help, though, I’ll try to continue to do more for scouting.”
Wright, who delivered the invocation and benediction, stressed the importance of supporting Friends of Scouting, calling scouting a “guiding light into adulthood.”
“Growing up has never been easy,” Wright said. “But scouting has helped young people for over 100 years. I ask you to help the community by supporting scouting.”
Liberty District executive Micah Donaldson, resource development director Matt Spencer and council secretary Tom Cardiff echoed Wright’s request for continued scouting support.