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Freemasonry ties to Scouting hi-lighted in award

g and compass

Times Standard

Fortuna's Overholt to receive national scouting award

Andrew Bird

The Times-Standard

Monday, July 26, 2004

FORTUNA -- Orval Overholt started his Boy Scout career in 1937.

Today Overholt, an 82-year-old Fortuna resident, is still involved with the Boy Scouts.

Overholt's dedication to the institution of scouting has earned him the prestigious Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, bestowed by the Freemason Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

He will receive the award at a ceremony on Aug. 4 at the Masonic Hall in Fortuna.

An official Boy Scouts of America Community Organization Award, this honor is in memory of Daniel Carter Beard who created the Boy Pioneers in the late 19th century -- a forerunner of the Boy Scouts of America, which he merged his organization with in 1910.

Beard, a Mason in New York, was the new organization's first national commissioner, said Jim Widdoes, a member of the Masonic Hall in Fortuna.

To qualify, a recipient must be a "master Mason who is currently a registered scouter and active in a scout unit, district, council, or national affiliate, (who) has displayed outstanding dedication to the scouting program through developing scouting units, assisting lodges in forming units, exemplifying the scout law and Masonic virtues, recruiting scouting volunteers and strengthening the relationship between Freemasonry and scouting," a description of the award says.

Widdoes supplied a 1-1/2-page resume of Overholt's accomplishments in scouting over six decades.

Overholt earned the rank of Star Scout in 1937 and has been active in the Boy Scouts of America ever since -- except for a stint in U.S. Army Air Corps during which he served in World War II and later in Korea.

Overholt has participated in a number of national jamborees and has held positions of leadership -- locally, regionally and nationally -- in the Boy Scouts since the 1950s.

Currently, Overholt is a member of the Redwood Empire Council Executive Board and serves as vice president of the Northern Sector. He is also on the National Scoutreach Committee.

Overholt worked for Pacific Lumber for 25 years, retiring in 1986

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