A Good Scout August 11 2008

Grandfather_2 If we’re lucky or blessed in life, we have leaders and mentors who both inspire and love us. The good looking guy in the Scoutmaster’s uniform standing to the right was one of those people for me. He was my grandfather, Leonard Eblin, who passed away last night at age 93. For many years, my grandfather was the scoutmaster of Troop Lucky 7 at First United Methodist Church in Huntington, WV. He also led numerous expeditions to the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico which is where this picture was taken.

One of my earliest memories from childhood is of desperately wanting to go on the Boy Scout trips with Pa-Pa. Of course, I was too young to go back then so my first step was to join the Cub Scouts when I turned eight. My Scouting career led to Eagle Scout, world and national jamborees, summer camp staff and lots of others opportunities for fun and to learn the art of leadership. A few years ago, I was going through some old mementos and found the staff binder for the Troop Leadership Development training program. As I looked through the materials, it hit me that a lot of the leadership foundations I built on as an executive and now as a coach were formed in Scouts. I owe that to my grandfather, his example and the desire that he created in me to be like him.


My grandfather was a servant leader. For him, it wasn’t about the glory or the accolades, it was about serving others. When he retired from Allied Chemical almost 30 years ago, he was asked to join the staff of the local bank where his job was to look after the needs of customers. In his spare time, he volunteered for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter where, in addition to building more than 50 homes, he enjoyed teaching the other volunteers the “right way” to do things. Until his body would no longer cooperate a few years ago, he organized monthly Sunday dinners for the residents of the Huntington City Mission.

The slogan of the Boy Scouts is “Do a good turn daily.” My grandfather embodied that idea throughout his life. Through his actions, he set a standard that I’ve aspired to throughout my life and one day hope to reach. Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” That was how Leonard Eblin lived his life — one small thing after another and always with great love. Quietly, humbly and with good humor he made a difference in the lives of thousands of others. Other than expressing my thanks for the gift of his life, I don’t know a better way to end this post than with the grace he recited so many times with all the Scouts at Philmont:

For food, for raiment

For life, for opportunity

For friendship and fellowship

We thank thee, O Lord.

Rest in peace, good Scout. See you on the trail.

24 Responses to “A Good Scout”

  1. Marie Guthrie says:

    What a loving tribute honoring your grandfather's legacy – many thanks for the reminder of how much good is created when we're in the selfless service of others.

    Warm regards, Marie Guthrie

  2. Marcy Schwab says:


    Your grandfather sounds like a most generous and remarkable man. It's wonderful for you to celebrate his life in such a meaningful way. My condolences to your family.

    - Marcy

  3. Mike Pefley says:

    Scott, although Tiger Woods is someone to draw inspiration, I find the example of your grandfather to be more compelling in terms of contribution to the U.S. and to humankind. It is clear that the values he instilled in you and likely your father are enduring and he is clearly someone to emulate. Thanks, Mike Pefley

  4. Sonja McMullen says:


    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tribute to your grandfather. It gives us pause to remember what is important. It sounds like your grandfather obeyed the Scout Law all of his life – especially the part about – To help other people at all times.
    Please accept my sympathy for your loss.
    Sonja McMullen

  5. Jennifer Kalita says:


    Thank you for sharing your Grandfather's gifts with us. I too had a Grandfather whose life significantly shaped mine in wonderful ways. My good thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you move through this loss.

    All my best,
    Jen Kalita

  6. Susie Bonvouloir says:

    What a nice tribute. No wonder you turned out to be such a nice guy, Scott! You come from good stock. Thanks for sharing a great story of a life well-lived!

  7. Gretchen Cioffi says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Scott. We need more people like your grandfather. I'm glad that his work and legacy continues on through you. May God keep Pa-Pa and your family in the palm of His hand.

  8. Nina Mickelsen says:

    Dear Scott – my warmest thoughts to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your thoughts under grief with us. Hugs, Nina

  9. Skip Holbrook says:

    Scott, your grandfather was always great to be around. He was just like you described, very humble and serving. I believe most of all he was so proud of his family, especially you and Steve. It's an honor to call you all my friends. I know Pa-Pa is peaceful and watching over everyone.

  10. Bob Dean says:

    Hi Scott-

    Thanks for sharing the story of your grandfather. I have a similar relationship and we can share expreinces next time we meet. Condolences to your family.

  11. Dear Scott,

    My sincere sympathy to you on your loss.

    What a wonderful man, what a wonderful tribute. What an extraordinary "ordinary" man he was. I was very moved reading this. What a blessing for you to have him in your life.

    I heard someone say once that "values are caught, not taught." He lived them, you caught them, and so many are better because of it.

    Best Regards,

    Amy Showalter

  12. Kelly Dillard says:

    What an honor it is to be humbled by reading your reflections on your Pa-Pa's "ordinary" life. In fact, it is in life situations like these where we should all realize, like you have, that the most extraordinary lives are the ones that quietly teach and touch the souls of those they come in contact with during the journey. Your Pa-Pa was blessed to have a long, happy and fulfilling life and whose influence will live on forever in the memories made and lessons learned in those every day activities that he shared with you. See you on Thursday.

  13. Jim Moore says:

    My sympathies on your loss. It sounds like Pa Pa is still teaching through you.
    Your message is a nice reminder to me as a relative newby grandfather.

  14. Wayne R. Prentice says:


    You truly had a relationship with your Grandfather that most, including myself, cold only wish for. We should all look to this legacy and realize our own potential, since it is never too late to start.

    My condolences to you and your family for the passing of this great man.


    Wayne R. Prentice

  15. Tom Berlin says:


    What a great tribute to a life well lived. I hope the memorial service is a blessing to your family and a time to give thanks for what a blessing your grandfather was to your life. May our grandchildren be able to celebrate our lives in such a fashion.


  16. Scott,
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful tribute to your grandfather. There is no doubt you are carrying on his legacy for making a positive difference in the lives of others. I hope your journey back to WV this weekend brings peace to you and your family.

    All my best,

    Erica Hoffman

  17. Rob Landes says:

    I met your dear Mom and Dad while my partner and I were on an Alaskan cruise in 2001. We, along with the Barretts became close, life-long friends. We visited Huntington a few years ago, and drove over to see where your Grandfather lived. It was beautiful. Your Mom and Dad spoke about him in the most loving, respectful way. They adored him. I'm glad to see that you did too. Your remarks were so touching and sincere, and I thank you for sharing a part of yourself with the rest of the world. I share in your loss.
    Rob Landes

  18. Dan McCarthy says:

    Scott –
    My condolences to you, and thanks for sharing. It sounds like your grandfather was a great leader.

  19. Chris Welker says:

    Thank you for sharing this great story of a wonderful life. We are all called to be great servants. Your grandfather lived to be a great servant.

    All my best,

  20. Ron Squires says:

    Scott, your grandfather was an inspirational man and equally inspirational life. I feel for your loss.


  21. Ed Brenegar says:

    Scott, I wish I knew your granddad. Ten years ago, I signed up as an assistant scoutmaster when my oldest son crossed over from Webelos to Boy Scouts. Two years later, and in a different troop, I found myself as the scoutmaster of 15 boys and two young men in their twenties. Over the next seven years, together, ASMs, parents, committee members and scouts built our troop to be one of the stronger one's in our Council. I'm most proud of the 18 Eagle scouts that came during my time as SM.
    I came into the role without much knowledge of scouting. I quickly found out that the BSA approach to troop leadership, namely, "boy-led", is the approach that many corporations are trying to adopt as they push leadership down through the hierarchy. I stepped down as scoutmaster last year when my younger son turned 18 and received his Eagle. It was time for some new leadership. The experience has been the best of my life. Virtually all my client work is modeled after scouting's approach to leadership.
    As you spoke of your grandfather, I couldn't help think of Fred, one of our ASM's who is 85, comes every week to scouts, and often tells us what it was like to be a Boy Scout in Germany when Hitler came to power and transformed Boy Scouts into the Hitler youth. His wisdom and experience are invaluable, as I know your Pa-Pa's was to you and all that knew him.
    May your memories of him live on through you, and all those who come to know him through you.

  22. Vicki Arroyo says:

    Scott, sorry to hear of your grandfather's passing. Sounds like he led a wonderful life that shaped you and so many others. Please give my condolences to your father and mom. I'm glad you all had so many years with him.
    All the best,

  23. Bill Mankins says:

    Your thoughts regarding your grandfather were right on target. I remember him from working beside him on Habitat for Humanity builds. Great Guy! Your essay also brought back many good scouting memories that we shared. Best of everything. —Bill Mankins.

  24. Scott:
    What a beautiful tribute. Just as your grandfather's life was a gift to you, this message is a gift to us. Thank you. From an old "Huntington" friend.
    Bev Mease-Buxton

Dismiss ×

Get Scott Eblin’s monthly leadership insights

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.