Derick and Dina Daly, this year’s recipients of Scouting’s Delmarva District’s Midshore Distinguished Service Award, have created and led Building African American Minds (B.A.A.M.) in Easton, an invaluable community service.
When honored on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., at B.A.A.M., located at 31 Jowite Street, at a ceremony emceed by Rabbi Peter Hyman, religious leader at Easton’s Temple B’Nai Israel, the Dalys will join a lengthy list of community leaders recognized over the years by the local district of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Rabbi Hyman, an Eagle Scout, was the 2021 award recipient.
This annual event is a special one. It raises much-needed funds to support the district council, enabling many families to afford to join Eastern Shore troops. All the money raised remains invested on the Shore.
Having been a Cub Scout as a child, I have learned during the past four years, three as event chair, the intrinsic value of Scouting through listening to the most recent recipients—Dick Bodorff of Easton, Jim Harris of Royal Oak and Peter Hyman—as they have talked passionately about their experiences as Eagle Scouts. They each tie their success in life to their years of Scouting service and lessons learned.
The long-lasting pride of becoming an Eagle Scout, the highest BSA rank possible, was evident as I listened a few years ago to Bodorff and Harris enthuse about their achievement earned more than 55 years ago. These two highly accomplished men seemed to remember every detail of their merit badges.
For many years I have known about Chip Akridge’s devotion to Scouting. This Oxford resident too was an Eagle Scout, as well as a recipient of the Midshore Distinguished Service Award. The Akridge Scout Reservation is located in Dover, Del.
A young neighbor in Easton, Jack Leffingwell, became an Eagle Scout. As his high school friends sought normal teenage diversions, he remained committed to Scouting. He was self-motivated; his parents, while encouraging, had little or nothing to do with his wholehearted participation. His Scouting experience provided a sound basis for his four years at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. His mother, Stacy Leffingwell, serves on our planning committee.
Scanning Google to learn more about the expansive impact of Scouting, I discovered that a U.S. president was an Eagle Scout. Gerald Ford was proud to be described, sometimes critically, as a “Boy Scout” or straight arrow. His reaction was perfect: if exemplifying being honest, trustworthy, loyal, friendly, cheerful, brave, obedient, courteous, kind, thrifty, reverent, and clean, he was comfortable with the critique. As he should have been.
For 17 years, the Dalys have established the means for young African Americans to seek personal betterment through academic and athletic activities, as well as job preparation. Their efforts have gained justifiable acclaim and support. They have remained singularly focused on providing satisfying opportunities for achievement and fulfillment to African American children and youths.
The Dalys will receive well-deserved accolades on Sept. 20. Scouting’s Delmarva District Council will benefit too by raising money to ensure that young men and women gain access to activities and values that build character and promote service above self.
If a reader wishes to attend, please email Shaina Adkins at email@example.com. Two weeks remain for attending an occasion to honor the Dalys and meet Mid Shore scouts.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. After 44 years in Easton, Howard and his wife, Liz, moved in November 2020 to Annapolis, where they live with Toby, a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel who has no regal bearing, just a mellow, enticing disposition.