Four adult leaders from the Boy Scouts of America's Five Rivers District recently received honors for their volunteer work with local scout units. The district serves Cole, Osage, Moniteau, Gasconade and Maries counties.
Ellen Balkenbush and Bob Berhorst received the District Award of Merit, the highest honor a district can give a volunteer for providing outstanding service to units and the district.
Balkenbush is an adviser for Crew 2006 and a unit commissioner for Troop 104. She serves on district Eagle boards of review, the district camping committee and the Scouting for Food committee. She also is chair of the Jefferson City Diocese's Catholic Committee on Scouting and has volunteered several years at the committee's annual religious retreat.
Berhorst has been an active scouter for more than 60 years. He has been part of Troop 17 in Linn and Troop 5 in Jefferson City, where he remains involved. Berhorst helped prepare Camp Hohn at the Lake of the Ozarks for its first summer camp in 1966. He has been involved in the Order of the Arrow since his induction in 1957, and has performed numerous other duties during his tenure in scouting.
Ed Kniest and Kent Nelson were named Distinguished Commissioners during the Great Rivers Council's recent award banquet in Columbia.
The Distinguished Commissioner Service Award, the highest recognition given to a commissioner, is presented to individuals in that role for their distinguished and exceptional service to youth, units and a district or council.
As Five Rivers District's district commissioner, Kniest oversees the district's crew of unit commissioners and works with them and individual units to provide a quality scouting program to area youth. Nelson is an assistant district commissioner and also works to provide units and individuals with valuable program information.
Kniest also presented the following awards to members of his commissioner corps: Commissioner of the Year, Carl Mahoney; Outstanding Commissioner Service, Stan Stevens, Balkenbush and Bonnie Keearns; Rookie of the Year, Darin Hackmann; Exceptional Service, John Young and Steve Bratten; and Outstanding Roundtable Commissioner Service, Mike Flanagan.
Those receiving the Spark Plug Award for providing a "spark" to their units were Michael Azar, Anne Dohmen, Stacy Dunnaway, Shelia Schmidt, Aaron Dunn, Patti Joiner, Travis Greer and Jenny Wood. Silent Service awards for volunteers working behind the scenes went to Clay and Christina Laughlin, Nikole Peck, Don Lutz and Roger Hatfield.
The Jefferson City News Tribune was honored with the district's initial First Amendment Award. It is given to a media member who is committed to providing the public with information about events and activities hosted by scouts and units in the district.