Greg Gressel and Mike Schleider, both of Tullahoma, recently received the prestigious Long Rifle Awards at the annual Elk River District of the Boy Scouts of America banquet.
The Adult Volunteer Leader and Eagle Scout Recognition Banquet was held in the Family Activities Center of First United Methodist Church of Tullahoma. The district includes Bedford, Coffee, Franklin and Moore counties.
Elk River District chairman Mark Russell was master of ceremonies for the evening event, which began with the presentation of the colors by Venturing Crew 391 of Estill Springs which also assisted caterer Elizabeth Taylor with the meal.
Also honored during the program were 20 district scouts who have earned the Eagle rank.
District camping chairman Sheila Taylor presented the National Summertime Pack Award to qualifying Cub Scout packs and the National Outdoor Challenge Award to qualifying Boy Scout troops.
District commissioner Gressel presented the Journey to Excellence Award to each pack and troop fulfilling the requirements to be a well-rounded and effective scouting unit.
Special recognition was given to Jim Reed of Tullahoma upon his retirement from active scouting leadership. Chairman Russell noted Reed’s 61 years of scouting experience, which includes being scoutmaster of Troop 142, district program chairman and adult adviser to the district’s Order of the Arrow chapter.
The Middle Tennessee Council, on the recommendation of the Elk River District, presented the Long Rifle Award for outstanding service to youth at the district level to Gressel and Schleider. This award is known as the District Award of Merit in other parts of the United States. Richard Dix conducted the award presentations with the assistance of district committee members John Petty and Ray Young.
Gressel is a native of Wilmington, N.C., and is an active leader in both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. The Girl Scouts honored him as the Service Unit Volunteer of the Year and he will serve as a Middle Tennessee delegate to the Girl Scout National Convention in Salt Lake City later this year.
As a youth he was a Cub Scout for two years in North Carolina. He has been involved as an adult scouter for seven years in the Elk River District. He has been very involved in his son’s Pack 358, where he served as Wolf leader, Bear leader and Webelos leader. He also served Pack 358 as committee member, assistant cubmaster, popcorn chairman and committee chairman.
He is now an assistant scoutmaster in Boy Scout Troop 402. He has been the district chaplain for five years and currently serves as district commissioner. He has served on District Day Camp staff, District Camping Committee, and as Cub Scout Roundtable commissioner.
Gressel also serves on the Council Jamboree Board and was appointed by the Middle Tennessee Council as the religious services chairman for the Council Jamboree in 2014.
Schleider has a long history of involvement with scouting, earning the Arrow of Light Award in Cub Scouts and earning the rank of Eagle Scout as a member of Troop 62 in Winter Park, Fla. His scouting career continued as an adult leader for his two sons, first as a Webelos leader and later as assistant scoutmaster and scoutmaster for Troop 416 in Warner Robbins, Ga. Both sons became Eagle Scouts.
He has earned the Wood Badge adult training certificate and now volunteers as a member of the Elk River Committee. He is chairman of the Advancement Committee and in that capacity oversees the advancement of scouts in the district, reviews and approves Eagle project proposals, and presides over Eagle boards of review.
Schleider is a certified lifeguard and active outdoorsman. He has backpacked the entire 70-mile Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail and has hiked to the summit of Mount Rainier (Washington state) on three occasions.
The banquet was closed by scoutmaster Bob Weiten of Troop 391 in Estill Springs with the “Scoutmaster’s Minute.”
Anyone interested in becoming a scout or scout leader is asked to contact the Middle Tennessee council office at 800-899-7268.