Medalist to speak at Scouts event

WARREN – The motto of the Boy Scouts of America begins with a simple phrase: “Be prepared.”

Distinguished U.S. Marine Corps veteran Cpl. Hershel W. “Woody” Williams embodies the state of readiness taught to Scouts since the group’s founding in 1910. Serving in World War II, Williams valor in duty during the Iwo Jima campaign earned him the military’s rarest of honors – the Medal of Honor.

Williams is the last living Medal of Honor recipient from the Battle of Iwo Jima. He was distinguished with the medal on Oct. 5, 1945, by President Harry S. Truman.

On Monday, Williams will serve as guest speaker for the ninth annual Friends of Scouting Breakfast at Leo’s Ristorante in Warren, organized by the Greater Western Reserve Council.

Jim Rapone, a veteran and Boy Scout program director, believes Williams represents the characteristics the group tries to instill in its members.

“He certainly lives up to the Scouts oath and motto,” Rapone said. “Being a Marine in Vietnam myself, for me it’s huge. It’s a big event in the history of our scouting community.”

Williams currently lives in West Virginia, where he oversees the not-for-profit Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.

The breakfast is open to the public, but Rapone said the event is geared toward its membership, businesses and community organizations.

“Primarily, we have local scouts that will come and listen to him,” Williams said. “The speaker is going to be reaching not only the business community and leadership, but reaching out to the children. I’ve heard him speak. It is very moving.”

For sponsorship and ticket availability, those interested are being asked to contact the Scouts’ Greater Western Reserve office at 330-898-8474 by Friday.

“This is a fundraiser and we are seeking donations that come from the heart,” Rapone said. “So far, we’ve had a great reaction to it and the figures are looking good.”

The 2014 Friends of Scouting Breakfast is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. Monday at Leo’s Ristorante, 7042 E. Market St., Warren.

All sponsors will also receive an invitation to a special reception for Williams at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station on Sunday evening.