Silver Beaver Award given to trio of Coweta Boy Scout leaders

By REBECCA LEFTWICH Three Cowetans received one of the highest honors bestowed on Boy Scouts of America leaders during Flint River Council's annual recognition banquet. Lenn Chandler, Verna Funk and Pat McKee were presented the Silver Beaver Award, a council-level distinguished service award recognizing leaders whose service has positively impacted the lives of youth.
"Obviously, I am very humbled and honored to be selected for the award," Chandler said. "Being involved in scouting has been a very rewarding experience." Chandler became involved in Boy Scouts with his son, Preston, who joined Pack 47 in Newnan as a Tiger Cub in 2006. In 2007, Chandler was named to the Executive Board of the Flint River Council. At first Vice-President of Finance, Chandler became Council President in 2011, a position he recently vacated because he was promoted to Regional Vice-President of Georgia Power's Northeast Region and will soon relocate to Athens. A graduate of Leadership Georgia, Atlanta, Coweta and Columbus programs, Chandler is active in many organizations throughout metro Atlanta, including the Center for Puppetry Arts and the Salvation Army. He also is an active member of South Crest Church in Newnan, where he serves on the leadership team and is chairman of the finance committee. "Scouting helps grow young boys into young men with tremendous leadership ability and character, and that's what our society needs at this point," Chandler said. "That's why I've been willing to give so much attention and effort to Boy Scouts in the last seven years." Funk, who likes to be called "The Boy Scout Lady," holds the same opinion. "The Boy Scouts of America have for over 100 years helped make boys into leaders and ordinary parents into exploratory leaders to help create a future for others to be proud of," Funk said. "I have worked with some amazing leaders through the various years that I have been involved with scouting. Bill Dailey, my Boy Scout mentor, has 53 years this week in the Boy Scouts of America, and I hope someday that I can at least do half of those years. I don't think I'll ever catch up." Funk became a Cub Master and Den Leader in 1996, when her son Jason joined Pack 54. In 1998, she organized Pack 42 at St. George Catholic Church in Newnan and served as committee chair for seven years. She currently serves as a committee member for Troop 242 at St. George, as the Flint River Council liaison to the Atlanta Archdiocese Catholic Committee on Scouting and co-chair of the District Pinewood Derby, which will take place at Toyota of Newnan on March 3. "I try to represent the God and Country approach while helping others at all times," said Funk, who initiated several religious programs for Scouts at St. George. "The Boy Scout Lady" organized a flag ceremony at St. George after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that has become an annual event. She teaches Sunday school and other religious education, has served as the District Scouting for Food chair since 1999, helps with Pinewood Derby workshops, day camp, camporee and publicity. She has been awarded the District Award of Merit, the Order of the Golden Bow and the Bronze Pelican Award for her work in Scouts and church, and continues to be active in multiple community charities as well as at St. George and Boy Scouts. "The Scouts are my second family," said Funk, whose latest endeavor is returning to school to become a cancer counselor. McKee was not able to complete his scouting career as a young man because his family moved away, but he re-involved himself in the "wonderful program" with his young son - also named Patrick - who eventually became an Eagle Scout. "Boy Scouts is a wonderful program, and it meant a lot to me to see him go through that program," McKee said. An attorney, McKee became the Flint River Council's Co-Legal Counsel around 2004, moving to primary legal council for the FRC in 2009. Council officials estimate that McKee's work has saved them thousands of dollars, including a $13,000-per-year tax exemption for Camp Bel-Tel that McKee successfully petitioned for and obtained from Fulton County. "The talent I have is I'm a lawyer, so I'm able to assist Flint River Council with legal needs without charging them," McKee said. "I'm proud to say my son has become an Eagle Scout, and one of the things I wanted to do was to give back to the program." As Den Leader of Pack 41, McKee led 12 Webelos through their Arrow of Light ceremony and helped them cross over into Troop 41. He is credited with helping raise up a dozen boys, including eight from the den he originally led, into Eagle Scouts. Currently vice-chairman of the board of deacons at Central Baptist Church in Newnan, McKee has served in leadership for many other community organizations including the Newnan-Coweta Historical Society, Friends of the Brown's Mill Battlefield Association, Coweta Samaritan Clinic and the board of directors at The Heritage School. Silver Beaver Award recipients are given to registered adult leaders who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, self-sacrifice, dedication and many years of service, according to Boy Scouts of America guidelines. Recipients do not actively seek the award and are selected without their knowledge. Chandler, Funk and McKee were unaware they would receive the Silver Beaver Award until they were called to the stage during a special presentation at the FRC banquet, held Thursday at the Coweta County Fairgrounds.

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