Duane Zobrist of Crozet was honored with the Samuel Miller Award at a dinner for 145 guests hosted at the Miller School of Albemarle Sept 14.
“This award is about recognizing community service,” said Miller vice president Bradley Bodager. “It has a youth connection in the spirit of [school founder] Samuel Miller. We have a lot of Boy Scouts, and his work with them and the people he touches through falconry is what we want to recognize. He was nominated for the award by community members.”
Zobrist is the recent past president of the Stonewall Jackson Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the largest council in Virginia. He also served on the Albemarle County Planning Commission.
Other recent winners of the award include former Charlottesville mayor Francis Fife and local philanthropist Suzanne Jessup Brooks.
In introductory remarks, Miller Dean of the Faculty Peter Hufnagle, an English teacher and sponsor of the school’s famous cycling program, said, “This dinner brings together remarkable people. The recipient usually knows a lot of amazing people who have done great things for the youth of Albemarle.”
He traced our concept of heroic virtue from its Greek origins in Homer. “As Homer describes it, virtue is being really good at what you choose to do. We add to that that those virtues are used to serve others.”
After receiving the award medal, Zobrist described the way mother eagles push their eaglets out their high aeries and teach them to fly. “They need that push,” he said. “We too are tasked to teach our youth the values they need to survive. This doesn’t happen by luck, but only by discipline. The home should be where the process begins. Then in churches and schools. We must proceed with vigor.
“Let us remember, we are not raising children, we are raising adults, and we need to teach them how to be adults.
He emphasized Scouting’s effectiveness at teaching values, reciting the Boy Scout Oath. “This is a rock solid foundation for life,” he said.
“I’m being honored for something I did not contribute to much. It was the inspired development of Scouting that led to my contributions to youth.”
Boy Scouts made the second largest contribution to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank last year, he noted. On average, a Scout volunteers 20 hours per month and their effort is worth $5 billion a year to America.
Last year 51,437 Scouts across the nation earned Eagle status, he said. “The Wall Street Journal called Eagle Scout ‘the gold standard of youth.’ Eagle Scout projects are the single greatest youth initiative in U.S. history. Fifty seven percent of America’s astronauts were also Eagle Scouts.”
A falconer who “flys” eagles, Zobrist brings his raptors to area Eagle Scout Honor Councils where that badge is awarded.
He said what he desires most for the country is “the blessing of good moral values for society.”
Miller headmaster Rick France, wrapping up the occasion, addressed the guests and turning to Zobrist, said, “One man—one man—can make a difference.”