Family, friends and Scouting volunteers gathered at the Winslow MacCrillis-Rousseau Veterans of Foreign Wars post on March 7 to pay tribute to John Fortier, of Belgrade, upon receiving the Scouting Citizen Award for 2019. The Scout Citizen Award is an annual presentation in the Waterville area to someone in the community who in their daily life exemplifies the high ideals of Scouting such as strong character and good citizenship.
“John Fortier is an outstanding individual,” said Kennebec Valley District Boy Scout Chair Bruce Rueger. Rueger, who is a professor at Colby College, continued: “John is a graduate of the University of Maine Orono, past president of the Waterville Rotary Club, past director of the Waterville Salvation Army, and past chairman of the Board of Directors, at Northern Lights Inland Hospital, in Waterville. He has lived in, and around Waterville, his entire life and has spent it helping other people at all times.”
Approximately 60 people attended the gathering. The event raised $21,000 to support the outreach efforts of Scouting in the Waterville area – the highest amount raised at such an event to date. “We’ll be able to help a lot of needy Scouts and make sure they get a great experience at Camp Bomazeen, in Belgrade,” Rueger said.
During his acceptance speech, Fortier, praised the work of Scouting. “The Cub Scouts and Scouts hold a special place of trust when they take and develop young boys and now young girls into adulthood and then release them to practice their Scout Motto and ‘Be Prepared’ to ultimately become especially accomplished citizens.”
Fortier was a Cub Scout as a youth and spent two years in the local Boy Scout troop. “I benefited from scouting and believe I learned valuable skills that have served me well to my current time. My memory is one of the lessons I learned as a Scout was to keep trying and “stick-to-tiveness.” One vivid memory during a weekend jamboree located at a fairgrounds was no gear or Gore-Tex as we know it today – then the rains came, then the mud and that the primitive gear and tents we had at the time did little to prevent the soaking, shivering and cold. It cemented into my mind the importance of the Scout Motto “Be Prepared.” It is impressive to me in this digital day and age of social media when there are so many distractions and disruptive activities influencing our youth that Scouting has never been a more appropriate and never been a more important activity.”
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