By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

OXFORD – The Yocona Council of Boy Scouts honored its top youth and adult volunteers Friday at an annual banquet.

The council recognized its third largest class of Eagle Scouts since it began on June 26, 1926. Bob Frederick, council executive, said 57 young men from the council’s 12-county area had achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. The council’s largest number of Eagle Scouts in one year occurred in 1973 with 71.

“We have twice the national average in the number of Eagle Scouts,” Frederick said.

Each year, the graduating Eagle Scout class is named in honor of a person who has been selected by past honorees. This year’s Eagle Scout class will be named after Tupelo’s J.C. Whithead. He was presented the awarded by Nick Norris of Troop 8 from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Tupelo.

Silver Beaver awards were given Friday night to adults who have provided long-term service not only to scouting but to other community organizations as well. Frederick said the number of Silver Beaver awards is determined by the national council of the Boy Scouts.

The 1996 recipients were: H.L. “Sandy” Williams of Corinth, Ronnie Fulgham of New Albany, Sheila Reeves of Booneville, Doug Fleury of Booneville and Pam Crone of Tupelo.

Also honored at the banquet were Scouts who received the God and Country award. This award is given to Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts or Explorers who complete religious education within their own church, Frederick said.

Scout awards also were given at the ceremony held in the Ole Miss Union Ballroom to adults who have provided outstanding service.

Scout Franz M. Schnabl of Corinth gave the benediction at the event. He is the first Scout in recent years to receive the Gold Honor Medal for lifesaving from the National High Court of Honor. Schnabl rescued his grandfather, Harold Smith, from drowning at the Crow’s Neck Recreation Area.

Schnabl, a senior at Corinth High School, also has been chosen to carry the Olympic torch along with 47 other Mississippians in late April. These residents were chosen as “Community Heroes.”

The Yocona Council of the Boy Scouts provides services in 12 counties in Northeast Mississippi – Alcorn, Benton, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Marshall, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union and Yalobusha.