Scout leaders honor one of their own

Published 10:46 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

Boy Scout leaders and parents gathered Thursday night to raise money for the Scouting program and to honor one of their own as the Good Scouter of the Year.

Dr. Ralph L. Howell Jr., a local dentist, received the Good Scouter award. He was an Eagle Scout in Chuckatuck’s Troop 25 when he was a boy.

He then went on to college at the College of William and Mary, where he was a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a coed fraternity with ties to the Boy and Girl Scouts.

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After receiving his bachelor’s degree in chemistry, he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Medical College of Virginia, where he graduated with honors and was a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, a national dental honor society.

Howell has since had two daughters involved in Girl Scouts, is the current president of the Virginia Dental Association and is a past president of the Suffolk Rotary Club.

He serves on the Colonial Virginia Council Executive Board for the Boy Scouts of America, and he has served as medical officer for the last three national Boy Scout jamborees.

“I just wanted to give back,” Howell said at Thursday’s Hilton Garden Inn dinner.

During his remarks, Howell related recent stories of gang violence, and stressed that nobody has ever heard of a “gang of Boy Scouts” committing violence.

In addition to Howell’s award, Boy Scouts held a mock press conference, with Suffolk Treasurer Ron Williams as moderator, where the Scouts asked Williams questions about Boy Scout activities and values. Williams informed the guests that the Colonial Trail District produced 75 new Eagle Scouts and contributed more than 2,000 hours of community service after Suffolk’s April 2008 tornado.

The leaders also collected funds for a new Boy Scout camp, where scouts will be able to earn merit badges by participating in fun activities such as rock climbing, rappelling, sailing and other outdoor activities. Matt Trangenstein, district executive for the Colonial Trail District, said the group hoped to raise $15,000 at the dinner.