Pictured (from left) are recipients of the 2019-2020 Silver Beaver Award: Melba Ritchie (Statesville), Bebe Newton (Forest City), Dan Gilland (Lenoir), John Haynes (Lincolnton), Robert Patton (Morganton) and Rodney Blanton (Rutherfordton).

Special to Iredell Free News

Statesville resident Melba Ritchie was presented the Silver Beaver Scout Award at Camp Bud Schiele Scout Reservation on Sunday, March 14.

The Silver Beaver Award is the highest honor a local Boy Scout Council can bestow upon an adult volunteer. Granted by the National Council upon nomination by the Piedmont Council, the Silver Beaver Award is presented for noteworthy service of exceptional character by registered scouters to the council.

Ritchie and her husband Bruce were introduced to cub scouting in 1997, when their oldest son joined the Tigers of Pack 607. They couple served as den leaders and Melba served as assistant cubmaster and cubmaster.

When her two younger sons joined Cub Pack 607, Melba returned to the pack as cubmaster. She remained active for the next 17 years serving as cubmaster and committee chairman as well as leading dens and filling roles as needed.

Over the years, Melba served in many unit leadership roles and has facilitated numerous God & Country scout programs. Her sons, Preston, Austin, and Jonathan have all attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Ritchie currently serves as committee chairman and the Webelos leader for the new female patrol in Pack 607, and chartered organization representative for Troop 1607, which she helped to start at Concord Presbyterian Church.

Melba has been active in the Gemstone District, serving on day camp staff for 20 years; on the District Committee for 11 years; camp card chairman; roundtable staff.; and and chairman of the training team for five years. Melba has received the District Award of Merit and the Gemstone Service Award.

Helping young people has been a big part of her life. She has served as a volunteer and substitute preschool teacher, as a volunteer at N.B. Mills Elementary School, and was active at West Iredell High School as a leader in establishing a Robotics Club and as a band booster.

Active at Concord Presbyterian Church, she has served in a leadership role in Vacation Bible School, as a Sunday School teacher, and as a member of many church committees. She became an elder in 2014 and served until 2019. During that time, she worked diligently planning fundraisers with the church and scouts, raising over $30,000 to buy a new bus to use for trips and mission work.

A retired nurse clinician, Melba recently became a grandmother. She and her husband of 32 years, Bruce, look forward to continuing the adventure of scouting with a new generation.

Ritchie said she continues to serve because she believes in the scouting program and the impact it makes on the lives of young people.

“Melba represents the type of leader that our young people need to have a great scouting experience,” said Connie Bowes, Scout Executive of the Piedmont Council.