HomeNewsJCS’ Ervin speaks at Boy Scouts’ banquet

JCS’ Ervin speaks at Boy Scouts’ banquet

By Tajuana Cheshier

Bramblett Group

More than 400 people attended the West Tennessee Area Council Celebration of Scouting Banquet where 47 Eagle Scouts were honored, more than $200,000 was raised to support scouting activities and keynote speaker Allen “Erv” Ervin told the youth in attendance to combat self-doubt, to believe in themselves and to “go be great.”

“Coach Erv gave us a lot of challenges — not only the youth in the room but the adults as well,” Banquet Chairwoman Elaine Christian said. Through generous table donations, the evening raised nearly 50 percent of its year-long goal. “We’ve raised $216,351 to invest in the youth in West Tennessee in scouting, and we’re grateful to everyone for making this such a special moment.”

The banquet, held at Carl Perkins Civic Center Tuesday, Feb. 27, was also WTAC’s new scout executive Morio Snelling’s introduction to the West Tennessee community. Snelling began his new role Feb. 1. Members of his family — wife, Maquitta, and three of their six children, Morio Snelling Jr., a former Eagle Scout; Myles Snelling, a current Eagle Scout; and Madison Snelling — attended the banquet. 

During the program, Snelling interviewed Ervin about his youth experiences as a scout and about his career as a football player and youth coach. 

“The reason I’m sitting here today is because of all of the things I did as an Eagle Scout,” Ervin said. “The leaders have such an impact on people. I still talk to my scoutmaster and all of the adults [from his scouting years]. When you can show a young man that you’re invested and care about his future, it helps everything fall into place, and I’m truly blessed for that.”

In his closing comments, Ervin stood to address the 47 Eagle Scouts recognized during the evening. 

“When we’re young, we don’t understand the ability that we have,” he said. “You guys are remarkable regardless of what anyone says; you’ve done something that will change the course of your lives forever. As you uphold our principles — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent — and look at any particular person in your life that displays those characteristics you will see. Every single Eagle Scout that I’ve met has gone on to do great things.”

Several recognitions in the evening’s program included Oliver Jackson Oxford, of troop 276, who received the West Tennessee Area Council’s Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award. Oxford built a 40” by 40” helipad to fly out patients experiencing medical or trauma emergencies at the Yuma Community Center in Yuma, Tennessee. Oxford is currently studying radiology at Jackson State Community College. 

Silver Beaver award recipients recognized for distinguished service in the local council were Forrest Michael Butler, Thomas Alan Roolf, John Wheeler Vanhoose and Katrina Harrell Young. 

James “JR” Ross received the Outstanding Eagle Scout Award and was Class of 2023 Honoree. Ross issued the charge to the 2023 Eagle Scout and Venturing Summit Awards. 

Quoting from Luke 12:48, Ross said, “For everyone who is given much, much will be demanded. One who has been trusted with much, much more will be asked.”

“To the Eagle Scouts tonight, the future is before you,” Ross said. “I hope you obey Scout law, Scout oath. As you do those things, sometimes you have to make wise long-term decisions that will also require you to have a short-term sacrifice. As Eagle Scouts, you will know what that means, and you will prosper through that.” 

The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes. The West Tennessee Area Council has thousands of Scouts each year involved in their organizations throughout 20 counties of the region. To support the Dr. Paul Caudill Memorial Campership Fund, individuals can give by phone 731-668-3787, westtnscouts.org and WTAC – Caudill Fund, 1995 Hollywood Drive, Jackson, Tennessee 38305.

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