CARTERVILLE — Marion Mayor Bob Butler and Carbondale Mayor Joel Fritzler were honored during a Good Scout recognition dinner last month at John A. Logan College. Both mayors earned the rank of Eagle Scout in their youth.
The dinner fundraiser was provided by Egyptian and Kaskaskia districts of the Greater St. Louis Area Council Boy Scouts of America. Local corporate sponsors included Golden Eagle Distributors, Pepsi MidAmerica and The Southern Illinoisan.
Master of Ceremonies Michael Garlinghouse of Murphysboro, a board member of United Way of Southern Illinois, welcomed the large crowd of BSA supporters. He introduced both mayors, offering each an opportunity to speak.
As each mayor eagerly accepted the offer to share a few words, Garlinghouse added, “You should never invite a politician to speak.” That brought a round of laughter and applause.
Butler reminisced about several camping trips, including one that involved a snipe hunt. He later served as a summer camp staff member and was inducted into Order of the Arrow. The longtime mayor said he learned a lesson in life from the Scouts, that of “keeping on,” as he described endurance hikes and a difficult swim to an island in a Wisconsin lake.
Accompanying Butler to the dinner was his wife, Louetta, and Marion City Manager Gail West.
Fritzler pointed out that Butler didn’t know he would get two statues this year, referring to the Scout statuette and the new life-sized statue of him on the Marion square.
“Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout,” Fritzler said. He emphasized that everyone should “reach out and thank former teachers, Scout masters and those who helped form us into adults.”
Presenting the award to Butler was Joseph Hirschi of Marion, chairman of Egyptian District of the Greater St. Louis Area Council BSA. Don Monty of Carbondale, a longtime BSA supporter, presented Fritzler with his award.
Several Scouts participated in the program, with one demonstrating knot tying. All of the guests had the opportunity to try to duplicate the endeavor with a small rope by their plate.
The dinner raised $4,562 in pledges for the two districts, which include the counties of Alexander, Franklin, Hamilton, Jackson, Johnson, Perry, Pulaski, Saline, Union and Williamson.
DIXIE TERRY is a freelance writer based in Goreville.