National Duty to God Award Recipients

2020 Recipients

David Wilson:

His deep and abiding faith informs his work with youth, a cause to which he has invested more than 25 years. For over 12 years he served as the Church of the Latter-day Saints’ Chaplain at Philmont Scout Ranch, responsible for the caretaking of the spiritual lives and souls of thousands of campers. As the Philmont Chaplain Coordinator, he fostered ecumenical practices and development of staff and campers alike. He has served Venturing from its beginning and rose to become the Western Region Venturing Advisor and then National Venturing Advisor. He has served as the Philmont Staff Association National Director and on his Council’s Executive Board. He has received the Silver Beaver and the Silver Antelope Awards. For his ecumenical service he has received the Catholic St. George Award and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Duty to God Award.

Larry Gibson:

As the First Counselor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Young Men Presidency and as the President of the Western Region Executive Board, Larry routinely encouraged all Scouts and Scouters to recognize the diversity of all faiths recognized by the BSA. Larry was instrumental in revising and revitalizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Duty to God program throughout the world. He is a “walking/talking” example of being open to all people of various faiths and religious beliefs. He has participated in both national and world Jamborees numerous times as an integral member of the Faith & Beliefs  area.  He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout as well as a recipient of the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and Silver Buffalo Awards. He is a recipient of both the youth and adult Duty to God Award of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.

David Steward:

David published Doing Business by The Good Book, which matches scripture with guidelines for business practice. It is an indispensable volume that shows how to succeed in business by using the Bible and its lessons as a source of inspiration and guidance. David founded his company, Worldwide Technology, Inc., on a shoestring budget and borrowed money, well aware of the high-risk nature of the venture he was undertaking. Despite the fact that he was a novice entrepreneur, he was certain he would succeed. Steward believed intensely that God wouldn’t let him down. He has applied the same philosophy in his service to Scouting. His first job out of college was as a District Executive for the Boy Scouts. He has served as his Council Executive Board President as well as the Central Region Executive Board President. He currently serves as a Vice-president of the National Executive Board. David has co-chaired United Methodist Bishop Dinners for starting new units. He has been recognized with the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope and the Silver Buffalo Awards. For his outstanding service to Scouting, the United Methodist Church has presented him with the National Silver Torch Award.

Merri Bolen:

Merri has demonstrated a long and selfless history in supporting and promoting the spiritual foundation of Scouting. She has served as the chair of her council’s Religious Relations Committee and has been the driving force of the council’s annual Duty to God Retreat. She has numerous times served on the Duty to God Staff at Philmont Training Center for the week long “Scouting in the Baptist Church”. She has served for years on the national level with the Association of Baptist for Scouting as its National Secretary and newspaper editor. She can be found working the Duty to God booth at the BSA National Meetings. She is a shining example of what the Scouting program’s Duty to God is meant to be. She has been recognized with the Order of the Arrow Vigil Award and has served as her O.A. Lodge Advisor. She has received the Silver Beaver Award and the Baptist Good Shepard Award.

2019 Recipients

Bray Barnes:

Bray is a member of the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board and has served for over 20 years on the Religious Relationships Committee. Bray served as the Chairman of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. In 2010, Bray was elected as the first American to serve as the World Chairman of International Catholic Committee on Scouting, a position he held for 6 years.

Kent Barnett:

As a registered Scouter for over 50 years, Kent is an Eagle Scout and has earned Vigil Honor, Silver Beaver, the Faithful Servant Religious Emblem, and many other adult  awards. He has served on the National Religious Relationships Committee since 1998. He retired in 2017 from Members of Churches of Christ for Scouting where he served as Executive Director for 19 years.

Liz Shelby:

Liz Shelby has over 20 years in Scouting. She co-wrote Chaplain Training and developed Cub day camp “Duty to God” curriculum.  Liz co-chairs the Capitol Area Council Religious Relations Committee. She is a lifetime member of the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters, serving as national secretary. She serves on the National BSA Religious Relationships and the Disability Awareness Committees.

Col. John Halloran (retired):

John served 32 years in the military and is a veteran of Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  During his military career in the U.S. Army, he served in 7 different Councils and Lodges.  John is very active with the National Catholic Committee and served as its Chair from 2010 to 2013.  He has received the St. George and Silver St. George Award.

2018 Recipients

Donna Copeland:
She is a true servant leader and a passionate promoter of “Duty to God” in Scouting. As chair of the of the Training Subcommittee of the National Religious Relationship Committee, she helped develop an online chaplain training program, faith-based initiative workshops and promoted the “Duty to God” exhibit booth at BSA national meetings. She serves as vice president of the Association of Baptists for Scouting and has provided leadership for Protestant worship services at the 2017 National Jamboree, Philmont and Sea Base. She is the recipient of the Baptist Good Shepherd religious award and is actively involved in the spiritual education and development of youth at her church and as a volunteer in local public schools.

Larry Coppock:
He is the National Director of Scouting Ministries for The United Methodist Church, where he has distinguished himself by establishing ministry initiatives in Scouting. He donates time to Special Olympics and Catholic charities, and has served at 5 National Jamborees. He is the executive director of Strength for Service, Inc., a non-profit company that produces devotional books for the military and first responders. He is a contributing editor for the best-selling Boy Scout edition of Strength for Service to God and Community. Mr. Coppock is an active member of the Palestine United Methodist Church in Springfield, Tennessee.

Dr. Sam Houston:
Dr. Houston has been continuously registered with the BSA since 1941. Sam is the Association of Baptist for Scouting’s past national president, executive board member, and chaplain. He has served as chaplain for 12 National Jamborees and 2 World Jamborees. He has been a faculty leader at Philmont several times since 1965. Dr. Sam Houston has been Council President and Commissioner, as well a member of the executive board of the Longhorn Council for over 50 years. He has pastored churches in a number leadership roles for over 60 years, including 30 years at Woodrow Baptist Church of Covington, Texas.


Dr. Neil Lupton:
Dr. Neil Lupton’s 63 years of service to the Boy Scouts of America is illustrative of his commitment to the character and spiritual development of youth. Since 2012, he has been a valued member of the National Religious Relationships Committee. Dr. Lupton has developed or co-developed many national programs and activities including Journey to Excellence, 21st Century Wood Badge, three Philmont Training Center courses, and the Boy Scout and Den Chief’s handbooks. Dr. Lupton is the recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and St. George Award.

2017 Recipients

Dr. Ron Adolphi:
Dr. Adolphi’s dedication to faith and Scouting has enriched the lives of thousands of Scouts and Scouters. He is a founding member of the National Lutheran Association on Scouting and served as its first president. He has served in many capacities since then and continues to serve as mentor to the executive board. He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Beaver, and Silver Antelope. He is a Viet Nam veteran having received two Legions of Merit and two Bronze Stars. After retiring from the Army as Colonel, Ron was recognized with the Department of Defense’s highest civilian honor, the Medal for Distinguished Civilian Service. He and his wife, Celia, have been with St. John’s Lutheran Church in Alexandria, Virginia for nearly 40 years.

Rev. Donald Hummel:
Reverend Hummel is a faithful servant to God and Scouting and has been the heartbeat of the Northern New Jersey Council for almost 60 years. He has assisted the Philmont Scout Ranch as chaplain every summer since 1992, as well serving as chaplain at many National and World Scout Jamborees. Reverend Hummel has been recognized for his love of Scouting and outreach to young people, both interreligious and community based. He is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, Silver Buffalo, Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver, Silver Sage, and Bronze Pelican. He serves on International Catholic Scouting Foundation. His long and distinguished career as a servant of God and numerous service and leadership honors and recognitions have demonstrated well his passion for faith, community, education, and outreach to youth since 1964.

Syed Naquvi:
Syed has been passionate about Scouting since he joined in 1979, but his Scouting experience began when he was 7 years old in his native Pakistan where he received the highest youth honor, the King Scout Award. Sayyid began his professional career in Scouting as a District Executive in New York, and later founded the Islamic Council on Scouting and National Islamic Committee on Scouting in 1980. He developed the religious awards for youth and adults for the Muslim community. He currently chairs the National Islamic Committee. He has been a chaplain at six National Scout Jamborees and last 2 World Scout Jamborees. He is a Silver Beaver, and received the Silver Medal Award at the World Jamboree in 2015, and the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Award from the Asian American Outreach organization. He is the cofounder of the World Islamic Movement of Islamic Scouting and, founded the first Islamic National Scout Jamboree, and is a representative to the United Nation for Interfaith International.

Rev. Robert Thornton:
Reverend Thornton has served as the Director of Scout Ministries for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for nearly three decades. He has served as the interfaith chairman for two councils and a religious instructor at Philmont. He has been a representative Girl Scouts of America, Campfire Boys and Girls, 4H Clubs, American Heritage Girls, and Trail Life USA. He is a Silver Beaver, and recipient of the Christian Church God and Service Award, Roman Catholic Bronze Pelican Award, and the Jewish Shofar Award. He has volunteered with the Disciples of Christ Homeland Ministry for 30 years.

2016 Recipients

Rev. Chip Turner:

Rabbi Peter Hyman:

Distinguished Recipients (Non-Members)

  • Mrs. Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States of America (2018)
  • Mr. Rex Tillerson, Former Secretary of State for the United States of America (2019)

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