LUMBERTON — A young scout is being recognized for his leadership in helping his community during flooding from Hurricane Matthew.
Ronald Timothy King, 14, is in Washington, D.C., this week as one of the 11 Scouts selected from across the United States to be a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s delegation for the 2016 Report to the Nation. King, who earned Eagle Scout status in January at age 13, is a member of Troop 301, which is sponsored by First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton. Brad Losh is scout master, Steve Bollinger and David Branch are assistant scout masters.
During his time in Washington, he will be asked to present the Boy Scouts of America’s annual report to dignitaries.
King, whose neighborhood lost electricity but did not flood, was out riding bikes with his younger brother Nathan the day after the flood. He noticed limbs in neighbor’s yards, so the two, after getting permission from their mother, started picking up sticks and limbs. Then he thought about what else he could do.
Branch said he was at the Bill Sapp Recreation Center, which had been set up for food distribution, when he received a message from King.
“I get this text message from Ron,” Branch said, “and it said, ‘I have no power, no TV and no way of knowing how the Scouts can help. Do you know how we can help? My brother and I are cleaning up yards around our neighborhood. I think this would be a great time for the scouts to shine for the glory of God.’”
Branch told him to gather Scouts who were able to get to the Bill Sapp Center and meet there the next morning at 8:30. King contacted other scouts and when Branch arrived at 8:40 the next morning, 20 were waiting for him.
As the letter nominating King for the delegation said, “The scouts served over 2,000 meals daily, carried water, unloaded critical relief supplies, sorted clothes and needed items, assembled cots and tended to the needs of those displaced to the very best of their abilities. Ron also served the people in his neighborhood. He and his brother helped clear streets and yards of debris, delivered food, water and supplies to the homes of the elderly who were not physically able to get out and retrieve it themselves. Ron King was steadfast in his commitment to serve others and was an example to his peers.”
Obviously proud of King, Branch said, “He’s a real leader. He’s the real deal.”
Branch said it told him that the goal of the Boy Scouts of America — to teach young men positive character traits, leadership, and service to the community — is being realized.
“When I saw those kids in there just doing any and everything to help so many people who were down and out — who had lost everything, lost their homes and everything; all their personal belongings,” Branch said. “To see these young men jump into action, I thought, this is what makes this organization so great and so powerful. I was proud of the program and I was especially proud of each of the young men who showed up to give back. They did it solely out of a sense of — this is my duty to my community.”
Branch said 26 scouts volunteered more than 1,000 hours of their time during the aftermath of the flooding. After the initial day at Bill Sapp, they broke into smaller groups and worked in other places in town.
“I learned that even though you are suffering a hard time you can still get out and help those who suffered even worse than you did,” King said. “I saw how the Boy Scouts united and helped Lumberton at one of the worst times.”
King’s parents are Timothy Lamar King and Betty Owens King; and in addition to his brother Nathan, he has a sister, Bridgette Hayes, of Marion, S.C. His grandparents are Ronald and the late Bonnie Owens, of Lumberton; and Leslie and June Rae King, of Lake View, S.C.
The trip to Washington is taken each year by a small group of scouts. As part of its congressional charter, the Boy Scouts of America is required to present a report to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. This report covers who the BSA is as an organization, the programs and initiatives it supports, and its major accomplishments and contributions over the past year.
“I’m excited but I’m nervous at the same time. I’m excited to go to Washington. It’s the first time I’ve gone and it’s my first time on an airplane,” King said.
His parents are proud, but they weren’t totally surprised at his attitude toward helping others.
“He has a very big heart,” Mrs. King said.
He attends church at Boardman Pentecostal Holiness Church and is an active member of his youth group. King is an eighth-grade student at Lumberton Junior High.
King began as a Cub Scout at the age of 6 and has remained active since that time. He achieved the highest rank in Cub Scouts, the Arrow of Light, at which time he crossed over to Boys Scouts.
He has completed 42 merit badges and BSA Scuba, and has received The Messenger in Peace, The World Conservation, and the God and Church awards. He is also a member of the Order of the Arrow, most commonly known as the National Honor Society of the Boy Scouts of America. King also has held leadership positions in his troop, such as chaplain aide, and currently is senior patrol leader.
While in Washington the Scouts are scheduled to visit the Goddard Space Flight Center; have church services at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and tour the campus; see national monuments; have breakfast at and have a tour of the Capitol building; visit with members of Congress and the president’s Cabinet; visit the U.S. Supreme Court building; lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery; and visit the Pentagon and the White House.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.