The Boy Scout Oath is very clear; it's filled with simple statements about what to do, rather than what to be.
As one speaker last week pointed out, it begins with the pledge to "do my duty" — rather than to be dutiful. And that attitude is the reason why the East Texas Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America gave its highest award to Bob Garrett on Thursday — the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award.
Garrett's life of service has been exemplified by his actions.
"The good turns Bob Garrett does for Tyler are huge," says Daniel Anderson, assistant scout executive. "He is involved in the whole community; he is involved in education and health and commerce and civil service. This guy is everywhere, helping out everyone and everything."
Garrett is president and CEO of Fair Oil Company. He's also a real estate developer who has served as president of both the Tyler Area Builders Association and the Texas Association of Builders (and was once named developer of the year by the statewide association).
But it wasn't his professional achievements that earned him the well-deserved award. It was his extensive community involvement. Garrett is vice-president of the R.W. Fair Foundation, and serves on The Salvation Army Development Board, the Tyler Economic Development Council and the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute.
Of all the organizations that he is affiliated, Garrett said the one on which he spends the most of his time is the Stephen F. Austin State University board of regents (that's the school he graduated from with a bachelor's degree).
Garrett has been a board member eight years, having been appointed twice by the governor. Many of the regents and associates with the university were in attendance at the ceremony on Thursday.
Of course, Bob Garrett would be the first to point out that the Boy Scout Oath doesn't merely say "do my duty." It specifically says "do my duty to God and my country." And faith is a fundamental part of Garrett's makeup.
He credits his parents with engendering in him an abiding faith in God, which he said, "has been the prevailing factor in my life, and I give God the glory for anything that's good that I've been able to be a part of."
Past recipients of the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award include: Bruce Brookshire, Lonnie Bo Pilgrim, Jeff Austin Sr., Eugene Brookshire, C.C. Baker Jr., Herbert Buie, Congressman Ralph Hall, Douglas V. Smith, Bill Hartley, Lindsey Bradley, Dr. Peggy and Howard Coghlan, Gov. Rick and Anita Perry, Linda Ryan Thomas, Betsy and Elmer Ellis, Carolyn and Michael Northcutt, Sheriff J.B. Smith, Judge Bill Stoudt, Harold Beaird, Sandi and Dr. Bill Taylor, Congressman Louie Gohmert, Ruben Martin, James I. Perkins, Rogers Pope Sr. and Rogers Pope Jr., Dr. Paul Powell, Keith Honey, The Hibbs Family and Jim Kendrick.
The East Texas community has benefited greatly from the good work Bob Garrett has done, and will continue to do. Indeed, it will be exciting to see what challenges he takes on in the future.