Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's Remarks At The Three Rivers Council Boy Scouts Awards Dinner

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004  •  Speech

Thank you very much Senator Williams.  The people of Beaumont are fortunate to have a bright, hardworking senator like Tommy Williams who uses his training as a CPA to ensure Texans get the most for their tax dollars. 

I am honored to be in the company of so many distinguished Southeast Texans and good friends, including Monsignor DeStefano, Council President Hamil Cupero, Mayor (Evelyn) Lord, Bill Scott, and the many men and women of this area who generously support the Three Rivers Council.  Of course, nothing makes me more proud than to see the bright, smiling faces of young men who wear the scouting uniform, and carry forward the great scouting tradition.  They are the reason we are here.  They represent nothing less than our future, and are our greatest hope for a better tomorrow.

One of the most important ways to instill the values of duty, honor and country into our youngest generation of Americans is to encourage them to pursue scouting.  I will always remember with great pride my scouting accomplishments, including the day that all my hard work paid off as I received the Eagle Award.  My dad called it the second most unlikely achievement of my young life, only behind finishing in the top ten of my class at the Paint Creek Rural School, of course, there were only 13 of us.

Scouting instills values that keep our children on the right path.  Scouting teaches young men and women to be resourceful and self-reliant.  It instills an appreciation of the great outdoors, and the survival skills needed to confront difficult challenges.  And in teaching practical skills, scouting imparts invaluable virtues that will last our children a lifetime.  The lessons of scouting are about the lessons of life: finishing a task to the end no matter how difficult or how long one must endure, demonstrating character and fortitude in the little things as well as the big things, devoting one’s efforts to causes greater than self.  Every young boy, and every young girl, who joins the scouting movement joins one of the great leadership programs of America. 

I think often of my time in the scouts, as I do the four and a half years I flew a C-130 tactical aircraft in the United States Air Force.  They both taught me how blessed I am to be an American, how blessed we all are to live in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”  The legacy of America has been built for more than 200 years on the courage of patriots, men and women who love freedom so much that they would offer their own lives for it. 

Today our nation is enduring a time of testing.  Our sons and daughters are at risk in foreign lands, and hundreds will never make it home.  Our news is filled with images of that disturb us, emphasizing a few bad apples rather than the quiet work of thousands of heroes.  But we will persevere, and we will prevail, because America has never been broken by a tough test.  When America is tested, Her character is sharpened.  And I know we will remain in good hands for generations to come because of the values learned by the young men of the Three Rivers Council, and in scouting troops all across this nation..

They are the future heroes of America who will wear the uniform of this nation, the young men who will one day teach our children in the classroom, or mentor them in our communities, the future business leaders, doctors, scientists and innovators who will lead this nation to a future of greater opportunity and prosperity.  And one of the reasons these young men will live lives of character is they have seen it exemplified routinely by Texans like Joe Domino.

Joe is best known to the outside world as the President and CEO of Entergy Texas.  But to the people of Southeast Texas, and the scouting community in particular, he is known as a tremendous servant, a man of character and strong values, a Texan driven to make a lasting difference.  He is affiliated with so many organizations and worthwhile causes that it is breathtaking to ponder.  You may find him preparing St. Joseph's Alter for the benefit of those in need, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, raising funds for Lamar University and St. Elizabeth's hospital, (always with Linda's help),  serving at the Texas Energy Museum, working at the symphony of Southeast Texas, or serving as president of the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way.  And of course, you can often find him touring Texas as Area President of the Boy Scouts of America, supporting the scouting tradition and scouting values.

It is fitting then, in addition to being recognized as Scouting's distinguished Citizen, Joe has also been selected to receive the Silver Antelope award.  The Silver Antelope Award is presented to Scouters of Exceptional Character for Distinguished Service to youth.  Joe could have received this award in Chicago at the national meeting, but he decided it would be best to receive it here with the people he knows best, the people who have seen him give back so much to this community.  I would like to take this opportunity to read a letter from the Chief Scout Executive:

Dear Joe:

I'm Sorry I can't be with you and Governor Perry tonight, but as you know, we are in Chicago at our National Annual Meeting. 

Tonight your friends and associates will honor you and thank you for your service to the world's largest youth organization, the Boy Scouts of America.  Your leadership in your church and in civic, professional, and fraternal organizations is exemplary, and you certainly make your community a better place.  The interest and enthusiasm you bring to our program is contagious as you have served successfully in many chairs from assistant Scoutmaster to Area President. 

As a Scoutmaster, you had the privilege of working with kids and being part of a great outdoor adventure that you experienced as a youth in Franklin, Louisiana.  Joe, thank you for serving as Area II president of the Southern Region operations team.  Your efforts help to ensure a quality program to the 11 councils and the 57,000 scouts in the Region.

Thanks, Joe, and continued good Scouting.

Sincerely, Roy L. Williams, Chief Scout Executive.

Bill Scott, would you escort Joe and Linda to the podium?  It gives me great pride to present the Boy Scouts of America Silver Antelope Award to a great Texan, Mr. Joe Domino.

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