Jack Kepley is state American Legion’s Scouter of the Year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 20, 2013

Veteran Boy Scout leader Jack S. Kepley Sr. was recently named Scouter of the Year by The American Legion, Department of North Carolina.

He was nominated by the local Harold B. Jarrett Post 342.

Bill Richard, state American Legion commander, presented a plaque to Kepley during ceremonies at the 2013 Annual State Convention held Friday in Raleigh.

A veteran of World War II, Kepley served with the 24th Infantry Division in the southwest Pacific, the Philippines and Japan. He is one of the three living charter members of the 92 veterans who founded the Harold B. Jarrett Post.

Kepley, who has been registered with the Boy Scouts of America for 76 years as Scout and adult Scout leader with Troop 448 sponsored by Coburn Memorial United Methodist Church, has served in many capacities. Seventy five members of the troop earned the Eagle Scout award during the 38 years he was Scoutmaster, and he had a part in the training and advancement of all the troop’s 133 Eagle Scout ranks awarded through the years.

He served for two years as camp director of Camp John J. Barnhardt, the Central North Carolina Council’s summer camp on Badin Lake near New London. In 2000, he was Wood Badge course director, which is a six-day Scout leadership course developed in 1919 by Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the worldwide Scouting movement. The course requires up to two years of service to complete.

Kepley has served as the Central N.C. Council vice president for camping and the council advancement chairman and now serves as a member of the board of directors.

Among the honors he has received are the Outstanding Scoutmaster Award by the Rowan Scout District, the Charles L. Little Award for Service to Youth by the Central N.C. Council, and the Silver Beaver, the highest award a Boy Scout council can bestow.

He has also previously been named Man of the Year by the Salisbury Lions Club, Citizen of the Year by the Salisbury Civitan Club, received the Major Emphasis Award for Outstanding Service to Our Youth from the Salisbury Kiwanis Club, the Excellence in Community Service Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was a Nine Who Care award winner from Rowan County given by WSOC TV in Charlotte.

The National Eagle Scouts Association presented him with the Scoutmaster Award for Outstanding Leadership. He has received the James E. West Fellowship from the Boy Scouts of America, and he was inducted in 2010 into the Hall of Leadership as the single representative of the Central N.C. Council in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America at the National Mall in Washington.

While he was Scoutmaster the troop backpacked over Grandfather Mountain, Mount Pisgah, Linville Gorge and Table Rock, Roan Mountain., Mount Guyot, Morrow Mountain, High Rock Mountain, Mount Mitchell, Mount Rogers, Va., the Uwharrie Trail, and most of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia.

They also canoed the Yadkin, South Yadkin, Catawba, New, Dan, French Broad and Lockwood Folly rivers, and out to Bare Island on the coast of North Carolina, and they sailed Lake Norman, High Rock Lake and Pamlico Sound.

The troop made plans, secured the necessary funds and completed details to camp on the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier in Charleston, S.C., five times, attended Disney World two times, camped on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Cape Canaveral, Fla., where they visited the Kennedy Space Museum, attended eight National Scout Jamborees, visited Florida Sea Base, and hiked the trails of Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico several times.

They also experienced four visitation exchange trips with the 1st Caerleon Scout Troop of Newport, Wales, observed the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace as guests of the queen, camped on Brown Sea Island off the coast of England, which was the campsite of Lord Baden-Powell’s first experimental Scout troop, visited the site of the first Wood Badge course at Gilwell Park north of London, camped on Staten Island and explored New York City, visited Washington, D.C. many times where they toured the White House and the Capitol Building, and had a private tour of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base.

Under Kepley’s leadership the Scouts participated in all these things while doing the regular activities such as attending summer camp a week each summer, competed in all the district and council camporees and other events, doing community service projects and attended regular weekly Scout meetings.