Meet your 2017 Silver Buffalo Award class

Some have names you know: Robert Baden-Powell, Charles Lindbergh, Hank Aaron.

Others are Scouters whose names are less universally known but whose impact on Scouting has been just as transformative.

Their common bond: the Silver Buffalo Award — the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honor for adult volunteers. It has been presented since 1926 for devoted service to Scouting on a national level. (It’s one of three members of the Silver family, joined by the Silver Beaver for council-level service and the Silver Antelope for regional-level service.)

Tonight, 12 Scouters — 10 men and two women — join the list of Silver Buffalo Award honorees — a list that includes six Medal of Honor recipients, three justices of the U.S. Supreme Court and 14 presidents of the United States.

Kent Clayburn, chairman of the BSA National Court of Honor, will announce the awards tonight at the BSA’s annual meeting in Florida. He will be joined on stage by BSA President Randall Stephenson, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh and National Commissioner Charles Dahlquist.

The 2017 Class of Silver Buffalo Award recipients. Photo by Michael Roytek.

2017 Silver Buffalo class, at a glance

These men and women will receive the red-and-white Silver Buffalo Award medals tonight. They’ll also receive a red-and-white square knot, which represents the award, for wear on their uniforms.

  • David Biegler — Circle Ten Council (Dallas, Texas)
  • Nelson R. Block — Sam Houston Area Council (Houston, Texas)*
  • L. H. (Larry) Chase — Atlanta Area Council (Marietta, Ga.)
  • Lucia Cronin — Bay-Lakes Council and Three Harbors Council (Fox Point, Wis.)
  • Robert G. Dealaman — Baden Powell Council (Endwell, N.Y.)
  • Eric L. Hiser — Grand Canyon Council (Phoenix, Ariz.)*
  • Kenneth P. King — Three Fires Council (St. Charles, Ill.)*
  • Carol McCarthy — Buckskin Council (Fayetteville, W.Va.)
  • Daniel G. Ownby — Sam Houston Area Council (Houston, Texas)*
  • Aubrey B. Patterson — Yocona Area Council (Tupelo, Miss.)
  • Mark D. Rose — Gulf Ridge Council (Lutz, Fla.)*
  • David L. Steward — Greater St. Louis Area Council (St. Louis, Mo.)

*The asterisk indicates the Silver Buffalo recipient is an Eagle Scout.

For a closer look at each of these 12 impressive Scouters, read on.

David Biegler

Dallas, Texas

David Biegler has made his professional mark in the outdoors through oil and gas ventures and in ranching, but he says his proudest moment came at an inner-city school during a flag-lowering ceremony.

Biegler said he watched as new Cub Scouts recited the Pledge of Allegiance before lowering the American flag and was later told by the principal about the positive impact Scouting was having on his school and the lives of the boys who participated.

In his three decades of Scouting, Biegler has distinguished himself at the council, area, regional and national levels.


  • He has served in several council and area positions as well as president of the Southern Region, and at the national level on the Chief Scout Executive Selection Committee.
  • He is a recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Service Award and the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards.
  • His commitment to serving the region’s youth extends to his involvement in Children’s Health System and the Dallas-based Education Is Freedom organization.
  • He and his wife, Diane Knape, have six children and five grandchildren.

Nelson R. Block

Houston, Texas

Much of Distinguished Eagle Scout Nelson Block’s work has been in Scouting history.

He has interpreted our history, culture and social impact to our members and the public, and he has published modern editions of books by Lord Baden-Powell, E. Urner Goodman and William “Green Bar Bill” Hillcourt.

In 2002, the Chief Scout of the United Kingdom recognized his efforts for Scouting history by naming him the Founder Gilwell Fellow.


  • He co-chaired the 2008 Johns Hopkins University program “Scouting: A Centennial History Symposium,” gathering 30 historians from 10 countries.
  • He is a shareholder with the Winstead law firm in Houston. He has represented his local council for 28 years, pro bono.
  • In addition to their three sons and daughters-in-law, Block and his wife, Linda, a den leader herself for 10 years, have five grandchildren.

L. H. (Larry) Chase

Marietta, Ga.

For Larry Chase, a key word is “support” — as in instructional and leadership support for the adult leaders of packs, troops, and crews and for commissioners who enable them to fulfill their own responsibilities.

Chase, who has amassed 32 years as a Scouter, has focused on the needs of leadership and instruction at nearly every level of Scouting.

“If I must pick one achievement, it would be development and delivery of the Council Commissioner Conference and online training based upon it,” he said.

The conference has been offered nine times at Philmont Training Center and Sea Base and has served more than 150 volunteers and professionals from more than 100 councils.


  • Currently the National Commissioner Service Team’s Recruitment and Retention chairman, Chase has served on the Philmont Training Center and Sea Base faculty on nine occasions.
  • He is a four-time National Jamboree staff member and has been tapped to serve as a staff member for the 2017 National Jamboree and 2019 World Jamboree.
  • He is a board member of the Atlanta Area Council and has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Scoutmaster Award of Merit, the Doctorate of Commissioner Science Award and the Distinguished Commissioner Service Award.
  • Now retired, he and his wife, Mae, have three sons — all of whom attained the Eagle Scout rank — and eight grandchildren.

Lucia Cronin

Fox Point, Wis.

Lucia Cronin, a former Girl Scout turned vice president in investment banking, has applied her professional interests to her Scouting pursuits.

A member of the Wells Fargo Asset Management’s diversity and community support committees, she has compiled a 22-year record of service at the unit, council, regional and national levels.


  • Cronin is chairwoman of the national Cub Scouting Committee. She wrote the original Cub Scout den meeting plans and the Year A/Year B Manual for Scoutreach and multi-age Cub Scout dens.
  • She has served the Central Region as a member of its executive committee, as membership vice president, and as a member of its strategic planning committee.
  • Her local experience includes serving on the executive boards of both the Bay-Lakes Council and Three Harbors Council. She is a recipient of the Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver and Bronze Pelican awards, as well as the St. George Medal.
  • Cronin, who earned a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University, has three sons, all of whom are Eagle Scouts.

Robert G. Dealaman

Endwell, N.Y.

Robert Dealaman, a former assistant Scoutmaster and Exploring Advisor with the Baden-Powell Council, has served in several capacities throughout his Scouting career — including the national Boy Scout Training Committee, the Philmont Leadership Challenge and 21st Century Wood Badge task forces.

Most recently, Dealaman worked with a national Outdoor Programs team to evaluate facilities of 26 properties across upstate New York and Vermont.


  • Dealaman currently serves on the National Camp Accreditation Program Support Committee and the Philmont Training Center Task Force and is regional chair of the NCAP assessment.
  • A participant in 14 National Jamborees and two World Jamborees, he is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and has been recognized with the Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver and International Scouter awards.
  • He retired from Link Flight Simulation as a facilities manager.

Eric L. Hiser

Phoenix, Ariz.

Camping, where interaction with the environment converges with the engagement of other Scouts, is one of those opportunities “where Scouting happens, where youth learn to make ethical and moral decisions and when to lead and when to share leadership to achieve their goals.”

To that end, Eric Hiser, the standards chair for the National Camp Accreditation Program Support Committee and member of the national Outdoor Programs Support Committee, has served Scouting for 35 years.


  • He has chaired the Outdoor Ethics and Camp Standards task forces and served on the Camping, Strategic Impact Exchange and Boy Scout Handbook task forces.
  • An Eagle Scout with six palms, he has received the Silver Antelope and Silver Beaver awards among many other awards, including the Distinguished Service to Conservation and the Doctorate of Commissioner Science awards.
  • He is a partner with the Jorden Hiser & Joy law firm.
  • He and his wife, Anne Stone, have one daughter.

Kenneth P. King

St. Charles, Ill.

Dr. Ken King’s professional education background has enabled him to help develop content and contribute to the teaching infrastructure across multiple Scouting programs.

An education professor at Roosevelt University in Illinois, King has assisted with revisions of handbooks, guides and educational materials that contribute to and promote the success of Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting and Venturing.


  • He is a contributor to content for Cub Scouting and Venturing conferences at the Philmont Training Center, for Venturers at Sea Base, and for the National Camping School program.
  • He led the development of materials for both the Lion pilot program and content for the Handbook for Venturers. Additionally, King, an Eagle Scout, has developed outreach materials that educate school board members, elementary, middle and high school teachers and principals on the value of the Scouting experience.
  • Among his many honors, King has been recognized with the Silver Antelope and Silver Beaver.
  • King and his wife, Tina, have two sons, one of whom is an Eagle Scout.

Carol McCarthy

Fayetteville, W.Va.

As a recipient of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, the Navy’s highest civilian award, Carol McCarthy was recognized for her service in training military spouses throughout her husband’s 38-year Navy career.

As an advocate for Scouting, she has continued to apply her management and training expertise from the unit level to the World Jamboree. Now the training chair for the Buckskin Council in counties spanning West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio, her involvement began in the 1980s when she trained leaders and served in every Cub Scout pack position.


  • She has served as headquarters manager and administrator for the BSA contingent at two World Jamborees.
  • She has received the Silver Beaver Award, District Award of Merit and the Distinguished Commissioner Service Award, among other honors.
  • She is a professional graphic artist and calligrapher.
  • McCarthy and her husband, Dan, have three sons, all of whom are Eagle Scouts, and one grandchild. Dan McCarthy also is a Silver Buffalo Award recipient.

Daniel G. Ownby

Houston, Texas

One of Dan Ownby’s earliest experiences as a Scout was meeting Scouts from the Netherlands at a Cub Scout day camp in Tulsa, Okla. Now he is completing his second and final three-year term as a vice chair of the World Scout Committee that oversees more than 50 million Scouts in 164 countries.

He is the youngest BSA member ever elected to the world governing body. The 28-year Scouter served as the chair of the 2009 Philmont International Representatives Conference. He was deputy camp chief at the 2015 World Jamboree in Japan and is slated to serve as the BSA contingent leader for the 2019 World Jamboree.


  • Ownby is a board member for the Sam Houston Area Council and current International Commissioner and chair of the International Committee. He is a board member for the Sam Houston Area Council.
  • He counts becoming an Eagle Scout as the Scouting achievement of which he is most proud. He’s also a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow and has been recognized with numerous awards, including five international Scouting awards from Guatemala (twice), Japan, Venezuela and Korea.
  • He is president of West Shore Pipeline. He and his wife, Allison, live in Houston,

Aubrey B. Patterson

Tupelo, Miss.

Retired banker Aubrey Patterson says the achievement in Scouting that makes him most proud is the economic and social leadership being provided the state of Mississippi by the young people who have been mentored by the Yocona Area Council.

“In three decades of work, we’ve helped develop two generations of new leaders for North Mississippi,” said Patterson, who also was a co-founder of the Boys and Girls Club of North Mississippi. “Much of our progress as a region, economically and socially, can be directly attributed to the character of these young men.”


  • Patterson, chairman emeritus of BancorpSouth Inc., has been a member of the BSA’s National Executive Board and has served as the treasurer, president and chair of the Yocona Area Council.
  • In his 34 years of Scouting, he has been recognized with the Silver Antelope and Silver Beaver awards, and the Yocona Area Council Distinguished Citizen Award, just to name a few.
  • An Air Force veteran, Patterson served as a trustee and member of the executive committee of the Presbyterian Church USA Foundation and as a trustee of Columbia Theological Seminary.
  • He is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and a member of its alumni hall of fame. He and his wife, Ruby Kathryn, have three children and eight grandchildren.

Mark D. Rose

Lutz, Fla.

Mark Rose, whose professional career has centered around designing and building world-class roller coasters, theme park rides and animal habitats, has focused on developing programs and maintaining properties for Scouting from the council to the national levels.

He served on the three-member committee that evaluated 84 sites throughout 26 states over a two-year period to find a permanent home for the national jamboree, which is now located at the Summit Bechtel Reserve.


  • A Distinguished Eagle Scout and Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, Rose has received several Scouting awards, including the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards. He is a member of the Second Century Society.
  • Outside of Scouting, Rose mentors and gives lectures to hundreds of aspiring engineers who have an interest in theme parks and roller coasters.
  • He is part of the senior management team that won the 2016 Liseberg Applause Award for Best Theme Park in the World (Busch Gardens, Tampa, Fla.).
  • He and his wife, Fifi, have three children.

David L. Steward

St. Louis, Mo.

Dave Steward gives credit to the role models from his youth, including his parents, his minister, and his Boy Scout leader, for instilling in him discipline, a sense of teamwork, and a positive attitude that have enabled him to succeed as an entrepreneur while keeping his business interests rooted within an ethical framework.

Steward, whose World Wide Technology is the second-largest privately held company in the St. Louis area and the largest African-American-owned technology company in the country, is the board chairman for the Greater St. Louis Area Council, an executive committee member of the Central Region and a vice president and executive board member of the National Council.

He landed a position with the BSA in 1973 following his college graduation and after borrowing $300 and hitchhiking to St. Louis. He used his later experience in marketing and freight sales for the Missouri Pacific Railroad Co. to found a pair of companies revolving around the auditing of railroad freight transactions. The eventual incorporation of data system technology into the process led to his creating World Wide Technology, a leading systems integrator and provider of supply chain solutions with more than 4,000 employees throughout the world.

His humble beginnings led him to create a corporate culture of serving others, calling on himself and his employees to be servants to each other, customers, vendors and the community.


  • Steward is a graduate of Central Missouri State University.
  • He and his wife, Thelma, a registered nurse, have two children and two grandchildren.

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.