Nancy McDonald honored for 50 years of service to Scouts

First Posted: 10/23/2014

“I thought I was there to receive a certificate and my 50-year pin.”

Nancy McDonald, of Dallas, was surprised with much more than a certificate and a pin when she was awarded the James E. West Award for a lifetime of dedication to the Cub Scouts organization.

“I was thinking that the certificate will be a nice addition to my scrapbook,” said McDonald, 80.

McDonald was only told that she would receive her 50-year pin at a ceremony held recently at the Dallas Middle School.

McDonald’s suspicions arose, however, when “I saw so many former Cub Scouts coming in.”

Her suspicions were correct as dozens of former Scouts were present to pay tribute to the woman who had a part in helping them mature into young men. McDonald was the unit commissioner for Cub Scout Pack 281 in the Dallas School District. She has been a volunteer with Pack 281 since 1968. Prior to that, she was involved with the Cub Scouts in North Carolina when her husband was stationed there with the military.

Dr. Richard Oley nominated McDonald for the award. The award is a recognition authorized by the National Council Boy Scouts of America, for chartered units and inviduals who contrbute $1,000 or more to the organzation.

Oley has been involved with Scouting for the past 11 years and is a Webelos leader and committee chairperson. He brought McDonald’s dedication to the attention of various leaders who decided to honor her with the award.

Oley, along with Boy Scout Troop 281’s Scoutmaster and Troop Leader Ronald Santoro and Cubmaster Michael Zern, were instrumental in obtaining the award for McDonald.

“It was a group effort,” said Oley, referring to raising the $1,000 contribution to purchase the award.

Oley also pointed out that McDonald has purchased the James E. West Award for both of her sons, Jeffrey and Patrick, in the past.

The James E. West Award was named after West, who was appointed to the position of Chief Scout Executive in 1910 by the founders of Scouting in America. West worked with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, Daniel Carter Beard, Ernest T. Seton and interested community leaders to give direction to the newly-formed program of Boy Scouts of America. West, along with several others, formed the National Council, B.S.A. on Jan. 2, 1911. During that year, the Scout Oath, Law, badges and fundamental policies were established. Under West’s leadership over the next 33 years, Scouting grew and matured into the program it is today.

“She has touched the lives of generations of Scouts throughout Wyoming Valley,” Oley said of McDonald. “We adore Nancy and appreciate her. We are very honored to have her. She has made a huge impact on the Back Mountain.”

Oley said he hopes McDonald will continue with the Scouts for many years as she has not only touched the lives of the youth but the adult leaders as well.

McDonald got involved with Scouting because she was “looking for something to fill the time” when her husband was stationed overseas and she couldn’t go with him.

“I thought that it would be a hobby, but it became much more than that,” said McDonald, whose sons were also Cub Scouts. “I remember when they used to meet in the basement of churches, and the packs just kept getting bigger.”

After 50 years of service, McDonald said it is time to slow down, although she will remain registered with the Council office and the District. “I am still going to go to the meetings and events every chance I get,” she stated.

McDonald’s name will be added to a plaque displyaed at the North East Pennsylvania Boy Scout Council office in Moosic.

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