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Mason-Dixon Scouts group honors two as distinguished

John M. Baer and Frederick C. Wright III were singled out by the local Boy Scouts of America for their service in the community

John M. Baer and Frederick C. Wright III were singled out by the local Boy Scouts of America for their service in the community

July 22, 2002|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

The Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America couldn't decide on one Distinguished Citizen this year, so it picked two.

John M. Baer and Frederick C. Wright III were honored Friday night at the Fountainhead Country Club.

Between 20 and 25 people were nominated, said Brad Bowersox, the council's executive director.

Baer, who is on the advisory council, and Wright, who is on the executive board, give "outstanding service to the community, not just Boy Scouts ...," Bowersox said. "They're in the trenches, and most people don't realize what they do."

Baer, who turned 94 on June 30, "hit this world two years before Scouting did," master of ceremonies Merle Elliott said.

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Reading from long lists of accomplishments by each honoree, Elliott said Baer has been on the boards of directors of the Chamber of Commerce and Washington County Hospital. He also served on the Washington County Board of Education and with several community organizations.

While Baer was an officer with the Mason-Dixon Council, he helped negotiate the purchase of hundreds of acres for the council's Camp Sinoquipe in Fulton County, Pa., Elliott said.

"I never had so many, many, many nice things said about me ...," Baer said in an acceptance speech. "Really, I feel sort of embarrassed.

"When you get to my age, one of the greatest realizations is that you've been helpful in making life more pleasant for others," Baer said, his voice cracking.

Wright, 63, a Washington County Circuit Court judge, was a delegate in the Maryland General Assembly from 1966 to 1971.

He has served on the boards of trustees of the Washington County Hospital Association and the Washington County Free Library, with the Maryland Arts Council and Boys Club of Washington County and on numerous judicial committees.

Wright said he was never a Boy Scout, so he read up before he agreed to help more than 30 years ago. He decided he admired the Boy Scouts' commitment to principles, values and ethical choices.

"I became hooked," he said.

Bowersox said the council gave an Outstanding Citizen award for four straight years, then stopped for four years as it concentrated on a $1.5 million capital campaign.

The council covers Washington County and Franklin and Fulton counties in Pennsylvania.

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