As many of you know, one of my wishes for Scouting has been to create a culture where no one ever tells the story of not being thanked.
My hope has been that we can recognize without fail that anyone who does anything for Scouting, especially our volunteers, will know how much they’re appreciated.
My thanks to all the wonderful people I have had the pleasure to work with during my career with the BSA. There are so many who have had a positive impact on my life:
- My Scout leaders who made my Scouting experience meaningful and fun as I grew up
- The volunteers who gave so unselfishly of their time
- The employees who worked above and beyond because of their love for Scouting
- Our donors and supporters whose belief in Scouting helps build our future
- My loving family who supported me all these years so that I could give my all to Scouting
While my official retirement date is not until September 30, this week at our National Top Hands Conference in Dallas, I will pass the baton of leadership to Mike Surbaugh as he assumes the responsibilities of our 13th Chief Scout Executive. Mike undoubtedly will do a great job. I congratulate him on his Scouting accomplishments and wish him all the best. I trust you will give Mike the same respect and support that you have provided me. With all of you and Mike working together, Scouting couldn’t be in better hands.
So, as I pack up my tent after a 43 year career with the BSA, it’s time to say thanks one more time but not good-bye. I still plan to serve as a volunteer and will be available to advise Mike as he requests.
This is an emotional time for me; I can’t begin to count all the people I will miss as I move on to this next phase of my life. I do look forward to having more time to spend with the love of my life, my wife Ernestine; with my son, Richie; daughter-in-law, Julie; and the pride of all of us, my granddaughter, Katie.
God bless all of you and THANK YOU for your unfailing service to America’s young people. And may God continue to bless the Boy Scouts of America.