Boy Scouts tap local citizen of the year
By Brian Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org June 20, 2013 7:48PM
Will County Executive Larry Walsh (left) congratulates Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Russ Slinkard on being named Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen of the Year Wednesday June 19, 2013. | Photo by Brian Stanley~Sun Times Media
Updated: July 22, 2013 7:11PM
JOLIET — Russ Slinkard doesn’t remember any specific tips about building a good campfire.
But the president and CEO of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce and Industry said other things he learned as a Boy Scout have stayed with him for many years.
“(Scouting) develops character, it teaches personal responsibility and values,” he said.
On Wednesday Slinkard was named the Boy Scouts of America’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year during a banquet at the Patrick Haley Mansion.
Slinkard was selected for exemplifying the values of duty to God, country and other people, according to Rainbow Council Executive Director Marc Ryan. The Rainbow Council covers Boy Scouting in Will, Grundy and Kankakee counties.
“Under Russ’ guidance and vision the chamber has become an invaluable piece of the community,” Ryan said.
Slinkard has also been a board member of United Way of Will County, the Center for Economic Development and Silver Cross Hospital.
Will County Executive Larry Walsh said Slinkard “exemplifies what a community leader is all about” by not only finding volunteers but always working alongside them.
Besides the award and several state proclamations, Slinkard was given a red neckerchief to wear with the rest of the scouts.
“As I think back over my life I find the four major influences were family, church, teachers and scouting,” Slinkard said. “I liked canoeing, I liked building fires ... the camp outs, the camaraderie.”
Slinkard said working to earn merit badges gave him a sense of accomplishment he still appreciates.
“You should not value winning over playing fair ... to help others. (Those) are the lessons that matter,” he said.
The dinner raised approximately $75,000 for the Rainbow Council that will be used for local scouting programs.