|ARLINGTON, Nov. 18, 2009 – Character was the focus as
Scouting saluted the military yesterday. |
U.S. Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri told about 500 people from
Boy Scouts' National Capital Area Council that the values of
Boy Scouts and the military are constant and that both
organizations seek to serve something greater than
This was the first Scout dinner saluting the military.
Retired Navy Capt. Scott Gray, who now works with event
sponsor General Dynamics, said he hopes to make the event an
annual affair. The Crystal Gateway Marriott – a stone's
throw from the Pentagon – hosted the event.
The council honored a servicemember from each service. Each
honoree demonstrated the commitment to service that Scouting
exemplifies and promotes, said former Veterans Affairs
Secretary Togo West, an Eagle Scout and the event host. The
Eagle Scout award is the highest in the organization.
The honorees are role models for youth and exemplify the
values of both Scouting and the military, West said. “The
Boy Scouts of America and the armed forces of the United
States share ... a common bond of service and honor,” he said.
Skelton, also an Eagle Scout, spoke of his experiences in
Scouting since December 1943, when he first became a
Tenderfoot Scout. It was World War II, and Skelton, now the
chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, talked about
how his Scout troop would send off older Scouts as they went
He praised the council for hosting an event that ties
Scouting with the military. “One builds character, and the
military defends our freedoms,” he said. “Scouting is not
just an organization, it is a way of life.”
The honorees are:
Army Staff Sgt. David R.
Gibbons, based at Fort Bragg, NC
Navy Petty Officer 2nd
Class Valerie Herrod, a bostswain's mate with the Navy
Ceremonial Unit in Anacostia Naval Station, D.C.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. John
A. Marshall, an aerospace medical expert at Andrews Air
Force Base, MD
Marine Corps Sgt.
Henry J. Reinewald, a recruiter in Detroit
- Coast Guard Petty Officer Lavelas D. Luckey, based
at the Coast Guard Station in Baltimore
Gibbons enlisted in 2003 as one of the first soldiers to
go directly into Special Forces. He is an Eagle Scout and
served in Afghanistan. He now is an instructor at the
Special Warfare Center and School, and is the Bear Den
leader for his son Ethan's Cub Scout pack.
Herrod has served as the Ceremonial Guard's community
service coordinator since she arrived in December 2007. She
has organized her sailors to help with local Special
Olympics and National Lands Day, and for working with
wounded warriors and at the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
While an Air Force medic, Marshall deployed with NATO troops
in Afghanistan, where he saved the life of a Canadian
soldier. Here, he works closely to aid the homeless. He
volunteers at a local soup kitchen and has initiated a
blanket drive to aid the homeless.
Reinewald is another Eagle Scout. He joined the Marine Corps
in 2001 and has deployed overseas as an artilleryman.
Reinewald is a recruiter in Detroit and he hopes to work
closely with recruits wishing to join the service.
Luckey received the Coast Guard Medal – the highest award in
the service – for rescuing a 5-year old girl who was trapped
in a burning car following an accident. He joined the Coast
Guard in 1999 and has served aboard two ships.
“Those of you in uniform tonight, you are examples to our
Scouts,” Skelton said. “That's what the young Scouts of
today must learn. They need to follow your example, because
they are going to be in your shoes and they need to be
challenged to give the best that is in them.”