WHEELING - The local Ohio River Valley Council of Boy Scouts announced a record $230,000 in donations during its annual Partnership Dinner at Oglebay Park's Wilson Lodge on Monday night.
Scout Executive Bob Drury said, "I've been overwhelmed by the response this year. This event has raised $95,000 more than any partnership dinner we've had before."
About 140 local business and community leaders and Boy Scout officials met for dinner in Glessner Auditorium. They heard Robert Murray, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Murray Energy Corp., share memories of his scouting experiences as a boy and as an adult. He said he was honored to be asked to address the annual dinner.
"I had my best years with our three sons, especially in scouting," Murray told those gathered.
"More than 115 million boys have passed through the Boys Scouts of America," he pointed out. "Two million have become Eagles."
He noted only about 4 percent of boys who join the scouting movement become Eagle Scouts.
"The National Eagle Scout Association recently tallied up all the Eagle service projects ever completed, and it came to more than 100 million hours of service. They are adding 3 million more hours per year," Murray said. "Well, I thank my God for the scouting movement and you folks who lead and support it. It is one of the outstanding initiatives in the United States of America, if not the best. I whole-heartedly support it."
Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., himself an Eagle Scout, also gave short comments extolling the virtues of scouting. He noted there are currently 14 Eagle Scouts in the House of Representatives and 12 in the U.S. Senate.
"If only all the members of Congress would adhere to the Scout Oath and Law. There are fundamental values there. This is a very important event," he said.
Drury shared a story he was told by a mother about how scouting had helped her son and the boy's father.
He concluded by thanking donors and told them their donations make it possible to help people, like that father and son, make connections with each other. Their contributions also support scouting's valuable lessons and values.