The Illowa Council of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recently honored its new class of Eagle Scouts, community partners, donors and scouting volunteers at its Community Impact Gala in Bettendorf.
More than 200 scouts and their families joined volunteer leaders and BSA supporters on Sunday, April 24, at Tanglewood Hills Pavilion for the council’s annual gala, which included a dinner, silent auction and awards ceremony.
“Thank you for everything you do, all of your contributions are greatly appreciated by our council and the youth in our area that benefit from your hard work,” Jeff Doty, Illowa Council’s scout executive, told the multi-generational crowd.
The event recognized 60 youth across the bi-state council who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 2021 as well as five Outstanding Eagle Scout Project award winners. The recipients were:
- Vanessa Calderon, Troop 1127, Muscatine, Iowa.
- Michael Carber, Troop 24, Bettendorf.
- Connor Houtekier, Troop 109, Moline.
- Andrew Hurst, Troop 4150, Toulon, Illinois.
- Adam Townsley, Troop 92, DeWitt, Iowa.
The evening also included the presentation of Silver Beaver awards to five area scouting volunteer leaders. This is the highest award a local scout council can present to an adult BSA volunteer. The new class of Silver Beavers were: Michael Hartman, Muscatine; Timothy Beck, Bettendorf; Jeremiah Houtekier, Moline; Patricia Reinheimer, Moline; and Tracy Terry, Erie, Illinois.
Other awards presented at the gala dinner and auction included:
- National Eagle Scout Association Awards: former Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert and St. Ambrose professor Michael Puthoff. The award recognized Eagle Scouts who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and service to the community at the local, state or regional level.
- Community Impact Award: This prestigious award was presented to Quad Cities celebrities Greg Dwyer and Bill Michaels of the Dwyer and Michaels Morning Show on 97X. Mr. Michaels, an Eagle Scout, accepted the award from Brian Girskis, an Illowa Council Board member.
“When COVID hit our region in 2020, it greatly impacted our Scouting programs,” said Mr. Girskis, who leads the membership committee. “In-person meetings stopped and virtual meetings started. Scouts were missing out on the opportunity to participate in the Pinewood Derby and Dwyer and Michaels wanted to make a special event to benefit scouting.”
The radio duo are credited with helping launch the Illowa Council’s Celebrity Pinewood Derby. The event, launched in 2020, has united local NBA, NFL, boxing, NASCAR and collegiate athletes for one cause – Scouting. The event has had a significant financial impact on supporting the council’s ScoutReach program, which brings scouting to underserved youth who otherwise might not be able to participate.
The Illowa Council of the BSA serves 3,000 youth across 13 counties in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. For more information, visit www.illowabsa.org.