WATERVILLE — Boy Scouts volunteer Chuck Smith of Phillips received the District Award of Merit at the annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner at the Elks Lodge on April 9.

The award is the highest honor a local district can bestow upon a volunteer.

The event attracted more than 120 scouting volunteers from Franklin, Kennebec, Somerset, Lincoln and Knox counties. Smith was nominated by Casey Morgan of Norridgewock, one of Smith’s Scouts while growing up.

Smith first joined scouting in 1965 in Phillips at age 11. His troop was part of the old Rangeley District. After years of hard work, he obtained the rank of Eagle at the age of 15 and remained active with his troop. He moved back to Phillips in 1985 and helped restart Troop 592 in the Snowshoe District. His leadership and support helped the troop grow and become a vital part of the scouting community.

While serving as scoutmaster, he guided three boys who attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Smith has volunteered at Bomazeen Scout Camp in Belgrade for the past two summers as the provisional scoutmaster. He also volunteered additional time to help the young scouts in the Nechemis program at Bomazeen to complete their required five-mile hike.

“I like to help other people because that is what I got out of scouting,” Smith said.

He also led a contingent of scouts from the area to Canada for an international camporee, but said his favorite experience was leading a 50-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Smith received the award alongside other scouting volunteers Pat Couture of Manchester and Chuck Mahaleris of Augusta. The selection committee was chaired by Kate Dingley Gurney, a recipient of the award last year.

Maine native and luge Olympian Julia Clukey gave the keynote address. Clukey thanked the leaders for their dedication to scouting and for working with youths and challenging them to never quit working on their dreams, despite obstacles and setbacks.

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