This is Special to the Tribune
Marshall – Surprised and humbled, Marshall Scouts and Scout leader volunteers heard “521” called repeatedly for awards during the Toe River District Volunteer Banquet held at Mars Hill University Feb. 7.
Among the seven honors awarded, Cub Scout Pack 521 earned the “Pack of the Year” award, and Boys’ Troop 521 won the “Troop of the Year” award.
They had the highest “Journey to Excellence” numbers that calculate program elements like training, leadership, camping, fundraising and Scout skills. The district comprises Madison, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties.
“I was surprised because I never got anything like this before,” said JD Wallen, Senior Patrol Leader for Marshall Boys’ Troop 521. “I feel our Troop was recognized for all the hard work we’ve done.”
Pack 521 Assistant Cubmaster Kelly Davis said, “It’s great to see our Pack rewarded for their hard work. Our leaders have done a fantastic job with teaching and our Scouts are a dedicated group of kids.”
Girls’ Troop 521 Scoutmaster, Trixie Briggs, took home the “Rookie Scoutmaster of the Year” for her excellence in helping mentor Scouts and for founding the first Girls’ Troop in Western North Carolina – and the only Girls’ Troop in the entire district.
“I’m so excited and blessed to have such an amazing group of girls to mentor every week,” said Briggs. “The credit goes to them and to Marshall Presbyterian Church (MPC) for enthusiastically agreeing to sponsor the Girls’ Troop.” Marshall Girls’ Troop 4521 – in addition to earning 2nd Place for “Troop of the Year” – was also recognized for having the highest popcorn sales in the district.
Abbey Holloman, a 12-year-old Tenderfoot Scout, sold an astonishing $4,760 worth of popcorn. She also officially started her Trail’s End college scholarship – after the first $2,500 sold, she earns six percent of sales toward college for the rest of her Scouting journey.
Thrilled for her fellow Scouters, Assistant Scoutmaster Sarah Scully got the funniest named award of the night – the “Big Toe” award. A play on the Toe River District name, the award is for volunteers who provide leadership and volunteer excellence to both the local Scout organizations and the entire district.
“I’m so excited for everyone tonight,” said Scully. “I had no idea we’d win anything, much less all of these awards. It’s really humbling.”
Boys’ Troop Scoutmaster Donovan Scully and Unit 521 Committee Chair Philip Briggs also received the William D. Boyce Award for helping to start, mentor and flourish both the new troops – the Boys’ Troop started up again in Oct. 2018 and the Girls’ Troop began in Feb. 2019.
“I’m so proud of everyone,’ said Philip Briggs. “These kids face each challenge determined not only to succeed but push their own limits to excel. We couldn’t do it without the kids, the leadership and MPC.”