Baker receives Rotary scouting award

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Scouting has been a large part of Robert E. Baker III’s life for more than half a century, since he joined the Cub Scouts at age 8.

At 10 he moved up to the Boy Scouts, earned the rank of Eagle and after college became Scoutmaster of Suffolk’s Troop 1, a position he held for 18 years.

On Thursday, that lifetime commitment to scouting was recognized by Rotary International when Baker was presented with the organization’s newly-created Cliff Dochterman Award. The award is given to Rotarians by the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians.

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To add to the honor, the presentation was made by Rotary District 7600 Governor Bob Preston who was visiting the Downtown Suffolk club.

The Dochterman Award is Rotary’s highest award for service to youth through the Boy Scouts of America. The presentation is made to recognize the members who perform outstanding service to youth as volunteer Scouting leaders.

Preston noted that Baker, who operates Baker Funeral Home in Suffolk, has been involved in Scouting for 52 years, during which time “:he encouraged more than 30 young men to become Eagle Scouts,” and Rotary for 30 years.

“So you’ve been a person who when you have committed to something, you’ve stuck with it,” Preston told Baker.

Downtown Suffolk Rotary Club President Andy O’Dwyer pinned the award on Baker. He also received a medallion and a framed certificate.

Baker, who has served as Preston’s Assistant Governor in Rotary for the past year, stayed involved with scouting by leading an Adventure Post for older scouts for 12 years after relinquishing his post as scoutmaster for Troop 1. In 2000, he was lured back as Scoutmaster.

Baker credits his interest in scouting to his father, Robert E. Baker Jr., who served on the district scout committee and served as a troop leader during summer camps. The elder Baker was also a Rotarian. Baker’s son, Blake, was also recently inducted into the Downtown Suffolk Rotary Club, the fourth generation of Bakers in the club.

While the kids have changed somewhat over the years, Baker said scouting has remained the same.

“The objective in scouting is still the same,” he said. “Teaching character and providing opportunities for leadership and advancement.”

Through his years of involvement with both organizations, Baker said there are many parallels and that the Rotary Four-Way Test: “Is it the Truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? And will it beneficial to all concerned?” is similar to the Scout Oath and Law. “It kind of goes along with it,” Baker said.