Judge George Pierce receives Boy Scouts honor
BY CLIFF SMELLEY
George Pierce was presented with the second annual Distinguished Citizen Award at the Boy Scouts of America Starke American Values Dinner, which was held Feb. 26 at the National Guard armory in Starke.
“This is the greatest privilege I believe I’ve ever had,” Pierce said.
Pierce served as Bradford County judge from 1981 until 1994. Prior to that, he served as an attorney and prosecutor for Bradford County, attorney for the Bradford County School Board and the attorney for all four cities (Starke, Brooker, Hampton and Lawtey) in Bradford County at the same time.
As an Air Force staff sergeant from 1949 until 1952, Pierce earned numerous honors, including the Korean Service Medal (with four Bronze Battle Stars), Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Distinguished Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and Sharp Shooter Medal.
Terry Vaughan, in introducing Pierce, said numerous terms could be used to describe Pierce, but perhaps it was best to say, “He’s a great American.”
“An honoree of this event is someone who has provided exemplary service to his community, while demonstrating character and integrity along the way,” Vaughan said. “George certainly fills the bill. He has always epitomized the motto, ‘Service above Self.’”
Pierce credited the Boy Scouts with providing a foundation for his early life.
“Boy Scouts, you played a great part in my life,” Pierce said. “I’ll always have you with me, and I’ll always support you in everything you do.”
The American Values Dinner is also a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts of America’s North Florida Council, which encompasses 17 counties. Jeff Oody, the dinner chairman, said this year’s goal was to raise $10,000. By the end of the night, attendees had pledged a total of $10,190.
Jack Sears, Scout executive/CEO of the North Florida Council, said, “On behalf of the 15,000 young people that will benefit from your generosity, thank you so much. God bless you for what you are doing for our young people.”
The event’s keynote speaker was Bunny Martin, a motivational speaker, humorist, magician and yo-yo world champion. After entertaining the crowd, he spoke highly of the importance of Boy Scouts, saying the organization is one of the few with “standards high enough and right enough” to serve as an inspiration and example to boys.