But Scouting goes worldwide, too. There are troops in 158 countries. Marshall Hollis hasn’t been to all of those places, but he’s logged many miles thanks to the Boy Scouts.
“I’ve been to Rome. I’ve been to London. We’ve had meetings in Australia. We’ve had one in Africa,” said Hollis, a pharmacist from Ripley. “Germany, Switzerland, Chile, Thailand. We have them everywhere.”
Hollis became a Boy Scout in 1962, and he’s been associated with the organization for nearly 50 years.
“I’m on the National Health and Safety Committee, the National Eagle Scout Committee and the International Eagle Scout Committee,” the 61-year-old said. “I’m also a member of the World Scout Foundation.”
In the spring, the Boy Scouts described Hollis as “Safety Expert, Tireless Volunteer, Eagle Scout.”
Those words appeared under his picture in a program for the 2011 Silver Buffalo Awards. The award features a small sculpture of a buffalo that hangs from a red, white and blue ribbon.
“The Silver Buffalo is the national level. That’s for the whole U.S.,” he said. “They give it out to about 10 people a year. There have been about 600 given out in the whole 100 years of Scouting.”
Five Silver Buffalos have been given to Mississippians. Hollis is the only member of the Yocona Area Council to win the award.
“I got so much out of Scouting. I tried to put back into Scouting what I go out of it, and I never will,” he said. “It’s one of the greatest youth organizations of the world.”
More to do
Hollis often sits on Eagle Scout review boards in Northeast Mississippi, and his work continues to take him beyond the state’s borders.
He is a pharmacy consultant at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. The pharmacy at Philmont’s health lodge was named in his honor.
“I go to New Mexico once a month,” he said. “That’s part of my job as consultant.”
He also has international duties. At the end of July and the beginning of August, he was in Sweden for the 22nd World Scout Jamboree.
“The king of Sweden slept in a tent for two or three days,” Hollis said. “We were invited to the castle. We had dinner with the king and queen. It’s hard to get in there with them, but once you get there, they are ordinary people. The king makes a point to talk to everybody.”
The king inducted Hollis into the World Scout Foundation in the early 1990s, so he has experience with royalty.
He’ll get more experience at the end of the month, when he travels to Saudi Arabia to attend a meeting with King Abdullah.
“Saudi Arabia is a big supporter of world Scouting,” Hollis said. “He’s giving $30 million. We’re going to pick it up.”
As he travels to distant lands, Hollis is an ambassador for the Boy Scouts of America and, by extension, his home state of Mississippi.
“Everybody says, ‘You can tell where he’s from. He’s from Mississippi,’” Hollis said. “I tell them, ‘I usually bring an interpreter with me.’”
Thanks to the Boy Scouts, Hollis has made friends and memories from coast to coast, as well as from continent to continent.
“You meet people from all over the world. It’s unreal,” he said. “The opportunities I’ve had in Scouting … I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”