High award: Michigan Boy Scouts honor local public defender

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By BSA

The Boy Scouts of America’s Michigan Crossroads Council honored local volunteer RJ Winter with the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor the state-level organization can bestow, at a banquet on board the USS LST 393 in Muskegon.

“I’m humbled by this honor,” Winter said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without a background in Scouting. I’m glad I get the opportunity to pay it forward and provide the same beneficial Scouting experiences that I had to others.”

Winter, an assistant public defender for Muskegon County and alumnus of Cooley Law School, earned the rank of Eagle Scout as a youth in the program. He was also previously recognized with the District Award of Merit in 2018. The Silver Beaver is intended to recognize Scouters of exceptional character who have provided distinguished service within a council.

Candidates for the award must be nominated by fellow volunteers. Moreover, each council only receives a limited allotment they can award each year.

“He’s very dedicated to what he does, having been through the program himself,” Tom Sturtevant, Scouting’s local executive, said.

“He understands the importance of volunteering for the benefit of youth.”       

According to Sturtevant, Winter dedicated many years as a commissioner for  Scouting’s Lakeshore District, which is comprised of units across Muskegon, Allegan and Ottawa Counties. As a commissioner, Winter was tasked with providing support for local packs and troops, empowering them to better serve their communities. He also served as district chairman from 2017 through June of 2021.

His mother, Judi Winter, a former Scouter herself, accompanied him to the ceremony aboard the retired Navy vessel. Surrounded by volunteers from across his district, representatives from the Michigan Crossroads Council presented RJ Winter with a plaque and medallion.

“I’m glad that my mom got to be there,” Winter said. “I remember watching her receive the Silver Beaver when I was a teenager.”

The Boy Scouts of America’s Michigan Crossroads Council honored local volunteer RJ Winter with the Silver Beaver Award, the highest honor the state-level organization can bestow, at a banquet on board the USS LST 393 in Muskegon.