Boy Scouts of America Santa Fe District Executive Paul Verwers called this year’s annual Friends of Scouting breakfast a rousing success.
“Definitely this is the largest attendance we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Verwers said. “We had right around 90 people or so, which is a great community support of Scouting in our area.”
Breakfast Event Chairman Terry Kelley agreed.
“Support for Scouting is growing and we certainly appreciate everyone who attends each year,” Kelley said. “I think that support really indicates the profile of our community leaders.”
The annual breakfast raises awareness of and support for area Scouting. This year’s breakfast, held Thursday at the Cleburne Conference Center, honored local businessman and philanthropist Lowell “Stretch” Smith Jr.
Banker Guy James introduced Smith.
“I still call him the chairman,” James said. “Because I worked for him for 25 years at the Cow Pasture Bank in Rio Vista. Now I could talk about Stretch all day if I wanted because this man has done everything as most of us who live around here already know.”
Smith’s life, James said, exemplifies the Scout law (A scout is: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.)
James listed Smith’s many accomplishments: running, with his wife Shirley Smith, the Rio Vista ranch his family started in 1887; graduating from Southern Methodist University; serving in the U.S. Air Force; becoming a bank president in his 20s; serving as president of the Texas Banker’s Association; providing scholarships for students and other philanthropic causes; receiving the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce’s first Lifetime Achievement Award; and being named to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
“That type of character is really the reason we’re here today,” James said. “This is our opportunity to support and recruit our next generation of leadership and what better mentors than community leaders like the Chairman.