John Drury of Jim Thorpe perpetuates the adage of "Once a Boy Scout, always a Boy Scout" and that's a big reason why the Boy Scouts of America Minsi Trails Council presented him with the Good Scout Award at its Carbon County Breakfast, June 12 at the Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton.
Drury joined Boy Scout Troop 249 in Philadelphia in 1944. In the summer of 1947, he was on the staff at Treasure Island Boy Scout Camp. He became a Junior Assistant Scout Master and achieved the highest Boy Scout rank of Eagle Scout. He says his uncle was a great role model.
"He was a Scouter from age 12 to 91. He became a commissioner in Boy Scouts in Harrisburg," Drury said.
A graduate of Temple University with a degree in education, Drury went on to receive a Certificate in Physical Therapy from the Cleveland Clinic.
After getting married, serving in the United States Army, (two years in Japan), he became active in Scouting again when his three sons joined Troop 1 in Abington, Pa. He served as Troop Committee Chairman and Scoutmaster for three years. His son David, became an Eagle Scout in 1966.
Now retired, after a 50-year career as a physical therapist and real estate developer, John remains active in various historic and community efforts in his beloved Jim Thorpe. He is a former president of the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce, founder and president of the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center, executive director of the Switchback Gravity Railroad, a member of the Jim Thorpe Lions Club and part-owner of the Inn at Jim Thorpe.
He also instituted the Victorian Heritage Festival, a fundraiser for the restoration of the Kemmerer Carriage House.
And through it all, he continues to mentor Boy Scouts for their Eagle Scout projects. For his continued support of the Scouts, he received the special recognition.
"I am greatly appreciative and humbled by it," he said of the award.
As a strong proponent of Boy Scouts, he said, "It gets you started in the habit of giving, and spending your life that way. It offers the opportunity to associate with other people who give to their community."
"It's fun too," added Janet, his wife of 58 years, who remembers the camping trips and events their sons participated in over the years.
Dereck Wentz, a Webelos II Scout from Palmerton Cub Pack 41 was the Scout speaker at the breakfast. He talked about how much he enjoys being a Scout, including being able to participate in "cool things" like camping, visiting WNEP TV station and Penn's Peak Radio, learning how to use a compass, put up a tent, safety tips when using pocket knives, bows and arrows and BB guns and learning about good sportsmanship and earning sports belt loops.
Wentz said he would "like to be an Eagle Scout like my daddy one day." Another long-term goal is to become a police officer so he can help people.
Robert Stevenson, the event chairman of the Carbon County Breakfast and president-elect of the Rotary Club of Jim Thorpe, was also a Boy Scout.
"I was in Scouting since I was eight years old and I earned my Eagle Scout," he said. "I worked at a Boy Scout camp as a head cook for years. I was also a 'den mother' and leader. Scouting is very important and John Drury recognizes that importance."
Stevenson said that upon receiving the award, Drury broke into song, singing, "No complaints and no regrets. I still believe in chasing dreams and placing bets. But I have learned that all you give is all you get, so give it all you got."
Drury said those words are like his philosophy of life.
(Boys of Kindergarten-fourth grade age interested in joining Cub Scouts can call Andy Wisolock, Quality Unit Executive Cub Scout Minsi Trail at 610-465-8557 or visit www.beascout.org.)