I was honored to be among the many attending the funeral of 40-year Scoutmaster Bill Hoffman, Troop 1960, Missoula, this past Saturday. During my drive to Billings after the ceremony, I had time to reflect on the impact that just one committed individual can have.
Bill had nearly 90 Eagle Scouts awarded in his troop over his 40-year tenure. A considerable number were present in uniform at the celebration of life. The impact of seeing all of those uniforms in one place among the other friends and family was truly amazing.
I think Bill would have appreciated that.
Some of those Eagle Scouts are now grown and serving as Scout leaders in their local areas. Many shared stories of how important Bill was to them or how he became a second or, in some cases, their only father figure.
Throughout my nearly 30 years in non-profit work, I have had the privilege of working with many volunteers. I can safely say that the position of Scoutmaster has to be the most significant form of volunteer service. As you have heard me say – whether Scouts have told you or not – all youth that you serve appreciate you and owe you a debt of gratitude. It is especially significant when that service is as a Scoutmaster.
I recently heard someone say that Hollywood and the world have used the term Boy Scout as a negative descriptor – “Don’t be such a Boy Scout,” or “You’re such a Boy Scout.”
On behalf of Bill Hoffman, and all of his Boy Scouts, I hope you know that we are so much more than that.
Rest in peace, Bill. We’ll keep watch at the fire and make sure your work continues.
Scout Executive and CEO