Lieutenant Colonel Eric T. Olson, a 28-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, was the guest speaker for Boy Scout Sunday at United Methodist Church.
Lieutenant Colonel Eric T. Olson, a 28-year veteran of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, was the guest speaker for Boy Scout Sunday at United Methodist Church. Olson currently serves as the patrol’s assistant superintendent. He grew up Chillicothe, was a member of both Cub Scout Pack 120 and Boy Scout Troop 120 and served in various youth leadership roles under his scoutmaster, Vince Moore. He earned his Eagle Scout Rank and God & Country Religious Emblem 1982. In addressing those gathered for Sunday’s service, Olson stated that it was at United Methodist Church where he received his Eagle Scout award and also where he and his wife were married. In preparing for his message, Olson said he came across one of his merit badge cards that he received after completing a home repair course. The course, he said, teaches about projects and how to use certain tools. “I’m not going to talk about hammers and saws, but I want to talk about other tools that Scouting gives you that absolutely will impact your life,” he said. The tools are the core values by which a person lives and how successful companies operate. “Successful companies and government agencies are very aware, conscientious and out front about communicating their core values,” Olson said. “Core values provide grounding for decision making and expectations for employees with the goal being that these values are projected through the service that is provided.” Olson stated that Scouting establishes an understanding of core values at a young age. “Every Monday night for many years I raised my right hand and recited the Scout Law in the basement of this church,” he said. “At the time, I probably didn’t give it much thought. When I hear someone speak today of a core value statement like it’s a new concept, I have to smile, because, for Scouting, it is not a new concept.” Olson reflected on the Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. “When you get to be my age, and have had that exposure to Scouting, it’s almost like breathing,” he said of the Scout Law. “It’s that automatic.” Living these core values is what matters, Olson said, comparing the core values of the Missouri Highway Patrol with those of the Boy Scout Law. “Where I work, we have eight basic core values,” he said, adding that there are 63 Eagle Scouts among the patrol’s ranks. The Patrol’s values parallel the values of Boy Scouts, although the two groups may use different terms. The Patrol’s values are integrity, responsibility, respect, professionalism, compassion, resourcefulness, character and commitment. He paralleled them to the Scout’s core values of trustworthy, obedient, courteous, friendly, cheerful and clean, kind, thrifty, helpful and loyal. Olson cited results of studies regarding the impact of Scouting. “Even as diverse as our country is there are commonly held values that revolve around family, country, personal responsibility, and ethics... all things that we cover in boy scouts,” he said. “It is this set of values that bring us together as Americans.” He said that studies have reaffirmed that Scouts are more likely to make ethical decisions, not easy decisions. “It’s a reflection of values,” he added. He noted that the Scout Law sets out goals. “It is understood by all that no one is perfect,” he said. “No Scout lives a mistake-free life. However, I can assure you that if you do your best, obey the Scout Law, that you take time to apologize and ask for forgiveness when you fall short, that you will be a true friend and an example to many. You will give hope and strength to others, and hopefully find your place in eternity with all those great Scouts that have gone before us.” Olson has served as a Boy Scout leader and his sons have completed their paths to Eagle Scout. He commended the adults who serve in leadership roles. “The signature on the merit badge card reminded me of the great adult leadership that our troop enjoyed for a long time,” he said. Olson was tapped into the Tribe of Mic-O-Say in 1981 and currently holds the rank of Sachem in the Tribe.