Boy Scout Award Created in Memory of Bishop Hodges

By Colleen Rowan

WHEELING—The Catholic Committee on Scouting for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced the creation of a new award created in memory of Bishop Joseph H. Hodges that recognizes a scout’s leadership abilities.

The Bishop Joseph H. Hodges Youth Leadership Award will be awarded to a youth who is a member of the Roman Catholic Church and Boy Scouts of America and will be presented on Scout Sunday, Feb. 2.

“We wanted to create something that would recognize a youth who is a member of the Catholic Church and a Boy Scout,” said Craig O’Leary, chairman of the Catholic Committee on Scouting. “We found an article on Bishop Hodges after he passed away in which he was remembering when he was a Boy Scout in the Eastern Panhandle and how his troop would always make the effort to go to Mass on Sunday no matter where they were camped. That was something we wanted to recognize and pass on.”

He noted that nominees do not have to be a member of a Catholic Boy Scout Troop sponsored by a church, but must be Catholic. The purpose of this program is to recognize the recipient’s outstanding contribution to the development of Catholic values in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America. Recipients must be at least first class rank in Boy Scouts or a member of a Venturing Crew. No honorary recognitions will be made and the award can be earned only once.

To nominate a youth, at least two letters of recommendation are needed, including one from the youth’s parish priest; describe in detail how this candidate has exhibited extraordinary leadership and commitment to Scouting and the Catholic Church. Nomination of a candidate is to be kept confidential. The committee/individual(s) making the recommendation will be notified of the results to schedule an appropriate award ceremony.

Nominations must be received by Christmas. For nomination forms and more information, contact O’Leary by e-mail at