Deacon Bill Scott: A life-long, dedicated Scout

Deacon Bill Scott, seen here with wife Estelle, was honored for his commitment to scouting Feb. 8 in College Station. (Photo by Mary P. Walker)

By Mary P. Walker
Senior Correspondent

When Deacon Bill Scott joined the Cub Scouts in 1942, he began an adventure that has lasted more than 72 years. On Feb. 8, the Boy Scouts honored him for his leadership, dedication and service with a testimonial dinner at St. Mary Catholic Center in College Station. More than 250 family members, friends and Scouts, as well as local dignitaries, joined in the celebration.  
Deacon Scott’s resolve to volunteer with scouting began shortly after he joined. While on a camping trip with friends, his Scoutmaster challenged them to “give back” in gratitude for their experiences. Ever since, he has taken that challenge to heart. 
When asked how his Catholic faith influenced his life as a Scout, Scott said that scouting and Catholicism complement each other. 
“The Scout Oath and the Scout Law are a code of honor that you can live. I’ve tried to do that,” Scott said. In fact, one of the components of the Scout Law is “reverence,” which manifested itself in his service as a deacon. He was ordained in 1988.
Scouting is known for its comprehensive leadership training and skill development programs, and Deacon Scott has enthusiastically invested his hard-earned expertise in the development of countless young men and women. 
He was the first to attain the rank of Eagle in Troop 383, sponsored by St. Joseph Parish in Bryan, and he became the troop’s junior assistant Scoutmaster in 1952. Over the years, he has served as a Scoutmaster and held many leadership positions in troops and the Arrowmoon District of scouting. He founded Troop 1074 sponsored by St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in College Station, and also helped establish Explorer Post 735, a co-ed scouting group that focused on high adventure.
“Big Daddy” is Deacon Scott’s nickname within the scouting community, which reflects not only his size, but also his fatherly concern for youth. Susan Guinn Alonso, who grew up without a father in her home, stated that he served as a strong male role model in her life. Through him and her experience with Explorers, she learned that she could achieve more than she had ever imagined possible. 
She also credits Deacon Scott with guiding her to the right career. When he helped her secure a summer job at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Alonso got to meet engineering students. This experience gave her confidence in her engineering abilities, causing her to change her mind about her college major. Today she is a petroleum engineer. Taking the lead from her mentor, she too has “given back” through participation in Cub Scouts with her sons. 
While Deacon Scott’s scouting exploits are legendary, he is especially famous for his cooking skills. Over the years, he has fed thousands upon thousands at scouting, church and community events. At the dinner, one of the testimonials that generated a lot of laughter was the story of a cooking project that did not go as planned, melting part of a Dutch oven in the process. As a tribute to his love of camp food, the dinner included a Dutch oven dessert cook-off by area Scouts and leaders, where attendees voted on the winners.
The event offered a few surprises. Judge George Boyett was also a young Scout when Deacon Scott first joined. He explained that one of their early activities was planting 1,000 pine seedlings at Camp Arrowmoon, near Hearne. The next year, they returned to plant 1,000 more. Today many of these seedlings have matured into trees that are 50 feet tall in a beautiful setting that will now be named the “Bill Scott Pine Grove.”
In addition, the mayors of Bryan and College Station and the county judge proclaimed Feb. 8, 2014 as “Bill Scott Day.” The proclamation reads: “Through his support of the Boy Scouts of America, Bill helps to assure that that the lessons of service, character, and integrity are passed on to future generations of young boys.” He also received a commendation from the State of Texas.
In addition to honoring Deacon Scott, the speakers also praised his wife, Estelle, who supported his endeavors as a true friend of scouting. 
Several young Scouts were present, including Patrick Patke and Zack Russell of Troop 383 who are currently working toward the rank of Eagle. They were inspired to learn about the first Eagle Scout of their troop and enjoyed working with other Scouts to honor a man who shared his “Big Daddy” heart with so many others. Members of area troops cooked and served a delicious chicken barbecue dinner in celebration of Deacon Scott’s dedication and love of scouting.