Published Thursday, October 25, 2012

Boy Scout leader receives Distinguished Service Award

From STAFF REPORTS

news@newnan.com

Local attorney and Coweta County resident Frank Harper has been presented with Scouting’s national Distinguished Service Award for his years of service and commitment to the youth of the Scouting program.

Harper received the award from the Order of the Arrow, the national honor society of the Boy Scouts of America, during the 2012 National Order of the Arrow Conference at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. More than 7,200 scouts and Scouters were in attendance for the awards ceremony.

“The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor that a member of the order can receive,” said Harper. “I am truly humbled to receive this award.”

Created in 1940, the purpose of the Distinguished Service Award is to recognize and honor Scouters who have rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the order on a section, area, regional or national basis. The award is given primarily for dedicated service to the order and Scouting over a period of years, and only Scouters whose record of service is truly exemplary may qualify.

The award is presented only during national conferences, which are held every three years.

During the past 15 years, Harper has served in a variety of leadership roles at more than 20 national scouting events, including the 2008 ArrowCorps5 and 2011 SummitCorps events in California and West Virginia, respectively. At both of those events, the Coweta Scout leader provided key logistical leadership to conservation projects in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and the New River Gorge National Park.

Harper has served on staff for the last seven national conferences, serving as a lead adviser for the past two conferences, and on the conference management team for the 2012 conference. Additionally, Harper has provided adult leadership to numerous section and region programs, most notably as the adult chair of the 2003 Region “One-Day of Service” program.

That project provided more than 17,900 hours of community service in one day to cities and towns throughout the southern region of the United States.

Since 1940, only 908 Distinguished Service Awards have been presented to the more than one million scouts who have been members of Scouting’s national honor society, a testament of the award’s high standard of excellence. Among the BSA’s national honors, only Scouting’s highest commendation, the Silver Buffalo award, has been presented fewer times than the Distinguished Service Award, with just 720 being presented.

Only 25 individuals from Georgia have ever received the Distinguished Service Award. Harper is just the second Scouter in the history of the Flint River Council to receive the honor, and is the first to be honored with the award in 49 years.

Locally, Harper is one of the of the “Key 3” leaders of the Flint River Council, serving more than 9,000 youth and adults. As a council commissioner, Harper helps guides and support Scouting programs in eight counties, including Coweta.

Harper also serves on the executive board and executive committee of the council, and as a national council member representing the local council.

Harper lives in Newnan with his wife, Melissa, and their children Merideth and William Harper. Professionally, Harper is an attorney, and maintains a bankruptcy law practice in Fayetteville.

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