Local Eagle Scout Matt Bell of Boy Scouts of America Troop 9 was recently presented with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award. Matt, who is from West Decatur and the Ah’Tic Lodge, served as the 2015 Northeast Region chief.
He led the National Leadership Seminar (NLS) staffs and was on staff at the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC) that same year.
In addition, Matt served as the Section NE-4A chief and worked as part of the staff at NEXT in 2016.
The NOAC is the premier event of the Order of the Arrow and is scouting’s second-largest national event.
Over 10,000 Arrowmen from across the nation gather for an experience full of fellowship, training, adventure and fun.
During the NOAC, Arrowmen participate in a six-day conference, including top-notch training sessions, recreational opportunities, evening shows with theatrics and special effects and more.
The 2018 NOAC was held from July 30 -Aug. 4 at the Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.
Arrowmen are able to travel to the NOAC with a contingent from their lodge. Or, they can go as a staff member supporting the thousands of attending Arrowmen.
The Order of the Arrow created the Distinguished Service Award in 1940 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the Order.
Its purpose is to recognize and honor those Arrowmen who have rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the Order on a section, area, regional or national basis.
The award is given primarily for dedicated service to scouting and the Order over a period of years.
The first recipients chosen in 1940 were 11 pioneer leaders of the Order of the Arrow. The award is a traditional part of the pageantry and ceremony of each NOAC.
Including the presentations at this conference, only 1,019 Distinguished Service Awards have been presented. This alone is a testament to the award’s high standard of excellence.
The award is a sterling silver arrowhead, bearing an arrow pointing upward and to the wearer’s right that’s suspended from a white neck ribbon upon which are embroidered red arrows.
A white square knot embroidered upon red cloth is available for uniform wear.
Presentation of the award is limited, and Arrowmen whose service extends most beyond the local lodge are normally selected. Youth and adults, as well as professional scouters, may receive the award.