The 40th Annual Blue Elk District Volunteer Recognition Dinner was held Jan. 28 at Adams Pointe Conference Center in Blue Springs, and emceed by Bob Stikeleather. Dinner Chair Jim Beachner noted the “That’s What Scouting Do” themed event was attended by over 250.

Special guests were Matt Hill the Deputy Scout Executive of the Heart of America Council, Jon Geiger the Council Development Director, Grant Dealy the Council Assistant Director of Field Services, and Anthony Gonnello Field Service Intern for the Council.

Blue Elk District Key Leaders District Chairperson Bill Essmann, District Commissioner Kerry DeHaan, District Vice-Chair of Programs Chris Bradshaw, District Vice-Chair of Finance Jeff Grubb, and District Vice-Chair of Operations Mike Brady, were sworn into their offices by Blue Elk District Executive Taylor Sellars.

In a special presentation, Matt Hill and Jon Geiger recognized two brothers, Nicholas and Charlie Dangerfield of Pack and Troop 865 respectively sponsored by St. Mark’s Parents Parent’s for Catholic Scouting in Independence, for being the top Trails End Popcorn salesmen in Blue Elk District. Combined they sold over $7,555 worth of popcorn.

Blue Elk District was recognized by the Heart of America Council with the Gold Level Journey to Excellence Award for the third consecutive year.

The Blue Elk District 2016 Pinnacle Awards are given to the top Pack and Troop who have recorded the most advancements per registered Scout though the year. This year’s awards winners are Pack 228 at Christ United Methodist Church, and Troop 257 at Beacon Heights Community of Christ Church, both in Independence.

The Torch of Gold award was given to individuals that have a record of rendering outstanding service and leadership to Scouts with disabilities. Recognized in 2016 were Melanie Horrell a Blue Elk District volunteer, and Ron Hayes of Troop and Crew 226 at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Independence.

The Silent Service Award was given to individuals not registered with the Boy Scouts of America but have given of themselves on behalf of the Scouting movement, but behind the scenes. Recognized Saturday night were Anna McAllister by Pack 266 at Oak Grove United Methodist Church, Baili Beachner by the Blue Elk District and Troop 332 at Blue Springs First United Methodist Church, Christine Schmidt by Troop 201 at Maywood Baptist Church, Connie Boring by Troop 228 at Christ United Methodist Church, Lisa Tracy by Troop 161 at East Alton Community of Christ Church, Nancy Niederschulte by Troop 310 at Faith United Methodist Church, Narin Tipton by Troop 603 at Blue Springs First Christian Church, Nathan Long by Troop 226, Niki Waltonen by Troop 603, Patty Collins by Blue Elk District, Paula Sanders by Troop 738 at VFW Post 1738 in Independence, and Randy Geivett by Pack 201 at Maywood Baptist Church.

Recognition for registered adult leaders that have gone above and beyond the call of duty is the Scouter Spirit Award. The 2016 award winners were Amber Burkhardt of Pack 692 sponsored by the Troop 692 Parents Committee, Chris Byler of Troop 692 at American Legion Post 499 in Blue Springs, Christopher Bray of Troop 228, Darrell Swofford of Pack 226, Debbie Finley of Troop 203 at College Park Community of Christ Church in Independence, Derrick Kruse of Crew 692 at American Legion Post 499, Heath Freiley of Troop 161, Heidi Deweese of Troop 201, Jason Waltonen of Troop 603, Jim Mitchell of Troop 282 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Independence , Larry Niederschulte of Troop 310, Melanie Horrell of Blue Elk District, Phil Kelsay of Troop 738, and Randy Hazen of Troop 266 at Oak Grove Community of Christ Church.

The highest award the District can bestow is the District Award of Merit. The 2016 awards were presented to Stacia DeHaan of Troop 692, Jeff Fox of Troop 347 at Pleasant Heights Community of Christ Church in Independence, Ron Smith of both Pack and Troop 257, and Joe Wilkinson of Crew 266 sponsored by the Wilkinson Family Farms.

The Master of Ceremonies Bob Stikeleather was pleased to recognize the young men in the district that earned the rank of Eagle, the highest rank in Boy Scouting. There were 96 in Blue Elk District this year and XX were able to attend.

The 2016 Blue Elk District Eagle Scouts are:

Troop 1 - Drew Wurtz; Troop 42 - Ryan Bolden, Noah DeHardt, Daniel Gardner, Cooper Smith; Troop 82 - James Gibson, Anthony Kilgore, Jim Molt; Troop 38 - Cody Peeler, Samuel Slayton; Troop 161 - Isaiah Pinter, Devin Tracy; Troop 173 - Spencer Ashley, Michael Ferrara IV, Nicholas Fiorello, Preston Fredenberg, Ian Harmon, Jack LeVota, Brian Spitler, Evan Wilson; Troop 175 - William Caton, Truman Delles, Grant Scott, Dean Sheppard, Andrew Simms; Troop 178 - Drake Weber; Troop 201 - Joshua Brison, Cole Jones; Troop 206 - Devon Highley, Trenton McArthur, Mason Middleton; Troop 221 - Jacob Ayers, Jared Bears, Jordan Daugherty, Dustin Hengel, Martin Morgan, Logan Simpson; Troop 223 - London Bales, Christian Deshazer; Troop 226 - Brandon Allison, Andrew Pulley; Troop 228 - Zechariah Ritchheart, Justin Stubblefield; Troop 229 - Andrew Fickle; Troop 246 - William AhMu; Troop 255 - Ethan James, Wyatt Walker, Austin Wike, William Wood; Troop 257 - Chandler Ruddell; Troop 266 - Zacharia Jones, Joshua Martin, Dillon Phillips, Andrew Wilkinson; Troop 282 - Ashton England, Curren Gentry, Grant Hansuld, Cooper Mangels, Jacob McLeod, Brandon Muller, Tristan Stickle; Troop 306 - Matthew Hassler; Troop 310 - Mason Harper, Andrew Kloth, William Mayes, Seth O'Brien; Troop 332 - Jessup Leakey, Jack Trent;Troop 362 - Nathaniel Gamble, Joseph Stark; Troop 383 - Brandon Warman; Troop 492 - Joshua Highfill, Austin Hyatt, Austin Porter, Mikel Pratt, Caden Stone, Nicholas Williams; Troop 603 - Allan Brown, Andrew Fatout, Carter Goettling, Evan Heard; Troop 605 - Thomas Potts, Nathan Roark; Troop 692 - Thomas Fligg, Spencer Porter, Nathan Rawson, Joshua Shaut; Troop 738 - Dylan Berry, John Kelsay, Taylor Olson, Andrew Sexson; Troop 763 - Trevor Coen, Seth Sims, Shawn Stark, Charles Welch; Troop 865 - Samuel Malmberg; Crew 2210 - Martin Morgan.