Although his Boy Scout career started much later than most Scouts, it is because of his dedication to the community that William Tirrell Sr. was honored by the National Capital Area Boy Scouts of America.
Scheduled to attend the group's 94th Annual Business Meeting June 7, Tirrell was to be honored with the Silver Beaver Award.
"I got involved in high school with a troop where I lived," said Tirrell. "I then went to the Explorer Post and finished high school in that group."
As a child growing up in Scarsdale, N.Y., Tirrell said his involvement in church ultimately led him to the Boy Scouts.
After a year of being in a troop, Tirrell said he transitioned to the Explorer Post, which focused on first aid.
Because each post is required to work toward a mission, he said their post was able to help area firefighters with basic first-aid techniques on location if needed.
"We had a mission and that meant we had to undergo training," he said. "It was good because it kept a group of young men focused on something. It gave us some self-worth."
AFTER HIGH SCHOOL Tirrell stepped away from the Scouts, to pursue a higher education through the military.
A United States Naval Academy graduate, Tirrell went on to get a master of science in financial management from the Navy Postgraduate School in California.
After serving more than 20 years of active duty with the Navy, Tirrell retired in 1988.
By his retirement, Tirrell had been living in Herndon for 10 years and had already become active with the Jaycees.
Then, 35 years after leaving the Explorer Post for the Navy, Tirrell was asked by a friend to come back to the Boy Scouts organization.
He later found himself as the National Capital Area Council Powhatan District Chair, a position where he served three terms.
The National Capital Area Council serves more than 84,000 youth in the District of Columbia and 16 surrounding counties in Virginia and Maryland. It is the third largest council of the more than 300 Boy Scout councils in the nation, according to a Boy Scouts of America release.
The Powhatan District is one of the largest in Northern Virginia, said Tirrell.
Currently Tirrell is in his sixth year of serving on the Powhatan District committee.
He joked when friend Doug Downer asked him to consider taking over as chair, Downer enticed him by saying there would be "light meetings." Instead Tirrell soon found he was attending not only monthly but quarterly meetings as well.
"I am not in the scouter ranks where you go out and do camping trips, etceteras," he said. "I am more in the planning and bureaucratic side."
Now Tirrell is in charge of long-term planning for the Powhatan District. He keeps a rolling calendar of events that currently runs from June 2005 to September 2007.
"I maintain it and send it out so everyone's on the same page," he explained.
At the local Scout level, Tirrell is responsible for the town's annual recognition of scouting leaders.
From a non-Boy Scout standpoint, Tirrell has been actively involved in Herndon organizations for 26 years.
Tirrell is a state Jaycees Life Member and a JCI Senator. He also served on the board of Camp Virginia, a camp for children with developmental disabilities.
He is a member of the Herndon Optimists and when his children were younger he helped out as an assistant coach during football season. He also got his start as a youth baseball umpire, and is now entering his 19th year as an umpire for the league.
At the political level Tirrell served five terms on the Town Council, as well as serving other town-appointed boards and commissions.
Tirrell also holds a full-time job as a federal employee and has served on national, state and local not-for-profit organizations' boards of directors.
Currently he is serving as one of seven members on the Planning Commission.
"I have a feeling a lot of the reason I was selected was not just because of my Boy Scouts involvement," he said, "but because of my overall involvement with the youth in the community."
ALTHOUGH HE SAID he does not know the specific criteria he had to meet to be given the Silver Beaver, Tirrell said he understands the magnitude of the award.
"I am embarrassed to some extent, because I know some of the men and women in the district who have been honored with this," he said. "It's a significant honor to me to be grouped with them."
The Silver Beaver Award is the highest honor the organization can bestow on an adult, according to the Boy Scouts of America release. Approximately one in 1,000 adult volunteers are honored with the award.
The Silver Beaver is presented to members who have offered distinguished service to youth in and out of the scouting organization. In addition it is honored to those who offer major contributions to the community.
Tirrell said he is proud to be a member of the Boy Scout organization because of the many benefits it offers.
"I think the various scout organizations," he said listing different scouting age groups, "bring a great deal of things to kids and frankly to their parents."
Scheduled to be awarded at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel, Tirrell said the ceremony would offer a 45-second vignette about his involvement with the organization and community over the years.
In addition he said he and his wife Jan, of 37 years, expected family and friends to attend.