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Rouzerville man receives one of Scouting's biggest awards

August 24, 2008

Earl O. Blair, 91, of Rouzerville, Pa., was one of 36 Scouters in the U.S. who recently received Scouting's second-highest honor, the Silver Antelope Award, at the 2008 National Scout annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

The Boy Scouts of America, acting through the National Court of Honor, awards the Silver Antelope upon nomination by the regional committee. The award is for noteworthy service of exceptional character.

Born in Waynesboro, Pa., in 1916, Blair was a Scout from 1926 to 1929 in Troop 7 (Church of the Brethren). He is a 55-year adult veteran of Scouting in the Mason-Dixon Council in Hagerstown, where he served in a wide variety of positions, including unit commissioner, camp promotion chairman, camping committee chairman, and Friends of Scouting committeeman for 50 years.

Scouting has been a major part of Blair's life. He served as a Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop committeeman while his son advanced through all of the Cub Scout and Boy Scout ranks.

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While a Department of the Army civilian during the 1950s and 1960s, he worked with military and civilian personnel at various U.S. Army installations to implement opportunities for urban at-risk Scouts to earn swimming, lifesaving, hiking, camping and other merit badges, so that they could more equally advance through Scouting's ranks along with more privileged Scouts. In addition to earning his Wood Badge Beads, Blair attended courses at Schiff Scout Reservation and Philmont Training Center.

From 1943 to 1946, Blair served in the U.S. Navy aboard U.S.S. L.S.T. 284, and actively participated in the Normandy invasion, southern France invasion and the liberation of the Philippine Islands. He retired from U.S. government service at Letterkenny Army Depot in 1980.

Blair and his wife of 62 years, "Beckie," live in Rouzerville, Pa. Their son, John, is a 1966 recipient of the Eagle Scout award, and a retired U.S. Army colonel.

Blair was accompanied to California by Mason-Dixon Council Scout executive Don Shepard, Mason-Dixon Council president Jerry Harness, DVM; and his son, John E.N. Blair, J.D.

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