COL. DONALD J. DAVIS: Motivation and inspiration through service is two-way street

I came to teach and was taught; I came to show and was shown


Col. Donald J. Davis
Col. Donald J. Davis

“It warms the heart and stirs the soul to see almost 400 Boy Scouts on board the Marine Corps Logistics Base with nearly 100 volunteers, boys seeking to become men of character and to secure our nation’s future. As long as this activity and those like it continue to occur here and around the country, our legacy lives on.”

Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure and honor to speak at the fall camporee during a fire-side chat Saturday held by the Boy Scouts South Georgia Council on board MCLB Albany. While I was there to provide some motivation and inspiration to this eager group of all sizes, shapes and colors, it was I who received the motivation and inspiration. Just as the Bright Side commenter above stated, I was stirred by their presence and their willingness to become men of character and future leaders within the community.

The scouts began arriving on Friday afternoon, and immediately set upon the task of establishing their camps. Each troop under the ever watchful eyes of volunteers and mentors was taking pride in his area and in what would be their home for the next couple of nights. 387 young men across 27 troops from as far away as Valdosta made the trek to fellowship with one another and a “few good men.”

Our Marine and civilian volunteers led the scouts in four specific activities while promoting Marine Corps leadership traits such as dependability, decisiveness, endurance, enthusiasm, initiative, integrity, judgment, tact, unselfishness and loyalty. These activities included High Intensity Tactical Training, a Leadership Reaction Drill, combat fitness test and an opportunity to see the individual combat equipment that our Marines wear today.

Again, while our volunteers were there to lead these scouts, I was impressed with the vigor and a can-do attitude displayed that was absolutely contagious. We were there to teach them about Marine Corps Leadership Traits and Principles while they were there to show us theirs.

“On my honor, I will do my best; To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

Their scout law states they are to be Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent. This is their azimuth and their true North. They use this to guide them through life’s obstacles knowing that if they stay on this path they will never get lost. A scout’s motto is “Be prepared,” and as a Marine I can relate because we are tasked with “Being the nation’s most ready when it’s least ready.”

I couldn’t help but think about all of this as I spoke to these future leaders around a camp fire. In a world where things seem so uncertain and the future unclear, these young men filled my heart with hope and pride and a reminder that what we do as Marines is not in vain. That “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” lives within the generations behind us. That so long as this activity and others like it occur across our country there will be a tomorrow and there will be many behind us ready to carry the torch of freedom to those less fortunate.

I came to teach and was taught. I came to show and was shown. I came to motivate and inspire and the same was returned to me. Life really is a two-way street where service to others practiced by all is always returned in kind. Thank you to the scouts, to the many volunteers that made the event possible and to the Southwest Georgia community.

Once again, Albany has shown me what’s great about this country. There really is Only One Albany, and we are fortunate to call it home.

(A guest commentary in the Albany Herald, by Col. Donald J. Davis.)

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