SCOTT REED: Eason’s legacy also applies to investing

Scott ReedPaul Eason was a man of few words and many actions. When he talked, it was worth your time to listen. His words ended earlier this month, but the result of his actions will continue to live on through the countless young men who have become leaders in their adult life because of Paul.

Mr. Eason was best known for the work he did with the Boy Scouts. I think the Boy Scout program is possibly the best leadership program for young boys in our country. Mr. Eason told me when I joined the Boy Scouts that I would be there until I got my Eagle, which was how you completed your time in the Boy Scouts.

As I understand, he had the record for the highest percentage of Eagle Scouts in the country at one time. He decided decades ago, after a suggestion from a Scout, that Troop 12 would have a campout at least once a month. Troop 12 holds the campout record and soon will hit 750 consecutive months of camping out.

Mr. Eason was also my neighbor. For years he mowed the grass on the city right of way from Country Club Road to McCullough Boulevard after he finished mowing his own yard. He wanted his space in the world to look nice.

He didn’t complain that the city couldn’t mow it as often as he wanted. He just began mowing it.

I never heard Mr. Eason talk about his enormous contributions to this world. He probably was not that impressed with himself.

When he was named Tupelo’s Outstanding Citizen in 1976, he seemed genuinely surprised. Others recognized his contributions for what they were, but he just did what he thought was right.

From successful businessman to Scoutmaster, from interim mayor to community leader, to loved father, husband and friend, Paul Eason showed us what it is like to have an enormously successful life through setting goals, doing what is right and persevering when most would call it a day. And he did it without ever calling attention to himself.

Now if you don’t think that this has something to do with investing, you need to think again. So much of what Mr. Eason did translates into good investment practices.

Believing in yourself and those around you and understanding that great things are done by average people all the time translates to a record number of Eagle Scouts as well as successful investors.

Setting a goal and sticking to it regardless of the circumstances will get you the record for consecutive monthly campouts, as well as getting you enough money to successfully retire. And if you are expecting the government, the company you work for or some other source to take care of you when you retire, you probably are going to fall significantly short of where you need to be.

Mr. Eason understood that well, and he had a very pretty city owned back yard to prove it.

On a personal note, they played taps at Mr. Eason’s funeral. The church was full. More than half of the congregation were Eagles. Well done, Mr. Eason, well done. Two.

Scott Reed is CEO of investment advisory firm Hardy Reed in Tupelo. Contact him at (662) 823-4722 or sreed@hardyreed.com.