Henrietta’s Boy Scout Troop 91 Scoutmaster Joe Bill Brock received a rare honor at the Boy Scouts of America’s annual meeting in May at the Gaylord Texas in Grapevine. He was recognized as one of the top 55 scoutmasters in the nation — that’s out of almost half a million adult leaders of 38,713 troops. This is the first time a scoutmaster has been selected from the Northwest Texas Council area.
Mike Mitchell, senior district executive for the Northwest Texas Council of Boy Scouts, submitted nomination information about Brock to national leaders based on two years of qualifications including tenure, troop performance and other performance measurements. “This is an extremely big honor and we’re excited for him. We’re very proud of everything he has done. They run a very good program,” Mitchell said of Brock and his troop.
Troop 91 has been part of Brock’s life since he was 11 years old. The 1984 Henrietta High School graduate got into scouting for the camping, and believes that learning the outdoors is still one of the most important aspects of scouting. “If you take the outing out of scouting, you don’t have anything,” he said. Former scoutmasters Vic Marchman and others through the years such as Larry Williams made scouting a positive experience in Brock’s life and influenced him to get involved with scouting as an adult. In the early 1990s, right about the time that Brock decided to get more involved in scouting as an adult, Troop 91’s scoutmaster was stepping down. He ended up as the new scoutmaster.
Brock’s two sons, 19-year-old Thad, a sophomore at Texas Tech, and 16-year-old Luke, a junior at Henrietta High School, have been involved in scouting almost their whole lives. “It wasn’t an option for them to not be involved,” Brock said and laughed. Both Thad and Luke have earned their Eagle Scout ranking.
Wayne Mansur, council president for the Northwest Texas Council, said that for 2011 and 2012, Troop 91 had produced more Eagle Scouts than any other troop in the region, an unusual feat to happen two years in a row. The Northwest Texas Council takes in 12 counties in North Texas. Brock said that since 1968, Troop 91 has produced approximately 90 Eagle Scouts.
Mansur said that Brock had done a brilliant job of leading the troop. “It’s always been a good troop, but he’s taken it to another level. If a boy wants to do his part, Joe Bill and the troop will do their part to make scouting the most enjoyable experience they’ve had.”
Service projects that the troop have conducted include building an overhead sign for Cambridge Cemetery, a volleyball court at the Henrietta City Park, and various projects at the animal shelter and at the Clay County mission outreach.
“It pumps you up,” Brock said of his honor. “So many nights you’re swatting mosquitos, swallowing camp fire smoke. One [former scout] asked if he could use me as a reference to be a Cubmaster. The chickens are coming home to roost. That makes it worth it, seeing them giving back.”
Brock would not take credit for his honor, and credits assistant Scoutmaster Mike Brown, and others through the years, including his wife Laura Lee. “I couldn’t do it without them. I’ve had lots of help,” Brock said. “There’s been so many players through the years that have make this troop what it is.”
Troop 91 has been sponsored by the Henrietta Kiwanis Club since 1928. The Scouts will kick off a fundraising effort for a new building with a dinner Oct. 5. Land has been donated for a new home for the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts at 101 W. Travis St.