Community Builder: Midlands man helps 200+ youth become Eagle Scouts
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - For more than three decades, one Columbia man has helped more than 200 Midlands youth become Eagle scouts.
"He gives you that feeling that, "You can do it," said Kevin Kent, assistant scoutmaster for Troop 202. He's talking about his friend and Scoutmaster Don Gibson. Kent's known him for 17 years.
At 74-years young Gibson is a legend in Spring Valley's Troop 202.
"He's got hundreds of Eagle Scouts behind him, and he's not just a figurehead," said Dale Branham who nominated Gibson and has worked with him at the University of South Carolina for years. "He goes white water rafting, mountain climbing, mountain biking, bouldering… he sets such a great example."
"You see Mr. Gibson being one of the people going down whitewater, like rapids that I've never even seen before-- that I couldn't even imagine," said Eagle Scout Adult Leader Gordon Dia.
But Gibson says his desire to lead and challenge the next generation comes from a personal place.
"I was a dogface soldier in Germany, and I was in the field all the time and there was a sergeant that took care of my two sons," said Gibson. "Really my oldest son especially and taught them all kinds of wonderful experiences. I said if I have a chance to do this fellow has done for my sons and I'm going to do it."
And since then he's gone above and beyond. More than 200 Eagle scouts later.
"I have some moms that I promised I would not quit Scoutmaster until their youngest son became an Eagle Scout," said Gibson. "They tricked me by having more and more babies, and so I'm still the Scoutmaster and I'm going to be the Scoutmaster as long as I can climb the rocks into the kayak trips and be physically able."
His decades of dedication led to a surprise from Chris Inabinet from Mungo Homes at one of the most recent Troop 202 meetings.
"Mr. Don, for everything you've done for this community and these young men… and it sounds like countless, countless over 200 others… we appreciate everything you've done, and you've been named one of Mungo's Community Builders."
Met by loud applause, those he serves in his spare time couldn't agree more.
"This man has built a lot of things a lot of things if there is anything that describes anyone as a community builder - it's Don Gibson," added Kent.
As a Community Builder- Gibson receives a $1,000 donation from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation.
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