ALABASTER, Ala. (CBS 42) – I interviewed former Scoutmaster George Oldroyd outside of a library on Alabaster on the 4th of July, and we talked for about an hour, about his unique time with the Boy Scouts of America and the friendships and accolades that he has adopted along the way…but I’ll start with something that he e-mailed me after the fact. George wrote:
Naturally, once we all went on our way, I thought of seventeen things I wished I had said. The one that’s most important is this: anyone is lucky to have a chance to be a Scout, at whatever age, for however long they do it.
But I was one of the luckiest, because on top of being something I did, it became something I am. It became the way I looked at the world.
I think that sums up George Oldroyd nicely. I came to meet and interview him after getting an e-mail from a man named Roger who lives in Alaska. The subject line of that e-mail caught my eye–especially considering my weekly Hidden Heroes segment: MOST DECORATED BOY SCOUT LIFESAVER IN HISTORY IN ALABASTER.
Roger wrote all about George, calling him a superhero. He detailed how the former scoutmaster had lost his leg as a result of his last big rescue. Roger said that George had quietly become the most decorated boy scout lifesaver in history–claiming that, “He’s only the second person in Scouting history to receive two Honor Medals, and one of his is with Crossed Palms. That award is the rarest decoration for heroism in America, being awarded roughly 300 times since 1923.“
Roger and George were both quick to admit–these findings were the results of research that was done by some former scouts–not by the BSA. However, the fact that some of George’s former scouts would take the initiative to do the research speaks pretty highly of the impact that he had on his troop. Later, George told me that Roger was one of his former scouts, too. Roger wrote: “I’d be grateful to see him get the attention he deserves. He’s been a Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Venturing Advisor, Order of the Arrow Adviser, and Sea Scout Skipper to about 2,000 kids, and been a Scoutmaster for the honor troops of the National Jamboree, the Order of the Arrow Service Corps, three times. He’s a big deal, even before you start counting the lives he’s saved. And he’s still pretty young, so when he gets back to walking again he’ll go right back to his usual brand of awesome.”
George will be receiving some of those honor medals around the end of this year. He told me that he is doing physical therapy in hopes of being able to stand and walk when he receives the awards.