WASHINGTON, DC – The National Catholic Committee on Scouting® (NCCS) has awarded Eagle Scout Benjamin Rawald of Del Rio, TX, a first-place $5,000 college scholarship through the Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship Fund. Mr. Rawald, 18, is a member of the Catholic Community at Laughlin Air Force Base (AFB), which lies within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS). He is a member of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 280 and Crew 280 sponsored by Elks Lodge #837.
The NCCS awards the Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship annually to seven outstanding U.S. Catholic high school seniors who belong to a BSA program and will continue their education in college. The seven scholarships, totaling $20,000, are awarded nationwide to recognize scouts for outstanding service and leadership in four areas: Church, Community, School and Scouting. Mr. Rawald, who placed first among this year’s seven recipients, received the largest monetary award of all.
A recent honors graduate from Brackett High School in Brackettville, TX, Mr. Rawald grew up in a single-parent home. His mother, a nine-year survivor of stage four skin cancer (melanoma), is a civil service worker at Laughlin AFB. His father is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. Asked what he’ll do with his $5,000 scholarship, Mr. Rawald said, “I will strive to continue my academic success by completing an Associate of Science in Pre-Engineering at Lake Washington Technical Institute near Seattle. This degree will help me gain acceptance into the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering. For a career, I want to do research and development work for one of the larger big box companies creating compatible possibilities for less toxic computer components. I am big into conservation.”
The AMS Office of Evangelization encourages scouting as an effective way to promote a comprehensive approach to Catholic Youth Ministry. Dr. Mark Moitoza, Th.D., D. Min., AMS Vice-Chancellor for Evangelization, said the development of leadership skills along with opportunities to grow in faith, through religious emblems and activities, makes scouting a dynamic opportunity for military-connected youth. Mr. Rawald is the second AMS member ever to receive an Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship. Last year, Eagle Scout Joseph Lepak of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall received one.
According to the NCCS, Mr. Rawald embodies the idea of service and leadership. When asked why he volunteers, he said, “If you can volunteer for it, sign me up! Why do I do all these things? Because my head and my heart tell me to do so. A Scout pledges an oath to serve his God, his country, other people, and himself. I am just following my version of the Scout Oath and I know that I am doing the right thing.” As a member of the Laughlin AFB’s Catholic Community and an active participant in several other local Catholic parishes including Saint Mary Magdalene Church in Brackettville and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Del Rio, Mr. Rawald has served as a Youth Group Leader, altar server, Vacation Bible School teacher, and lead usher.
Passionate about conservation, Mr. Rawald has brought national recognition to his community. He completed five conservation-based community service projects totaling thousands of hours involving hundreds of volunteers. His projects included recycling plastic bags and printer toner cartridges, butterfly migration, wetland refurbishment, and studying the effects of invasive species on his city’s local creek. These projects helped him earn the BSA’s prestigious Silver Hornaday Award, scouting’s highest conservation award. His butterfly migration project earned the 2020 Texas Environmental Excellence Award.
Until his high school graduation in May, Mr. Rawald was dual enrolled at Brackett High School and Southwest Texas Junior College. He is a member of the National Honor Society of High School Scholars and the international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He has served as a Student Council Representative and participated in Future Farmers of America, varsity weightlifting, and marching band. At Southwest Texas Junior College, he is on the Student Activities Board and in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Club.
Throughout his scouting career, Mr. Rawald has volunteered more than six-thousand documented hours of community and conservation-based service and not only achieved the rank of Eagle but was the first to earn the Summit Award in his Venture Crew. In 2019, he was recognized by Scouting and Boy’s Life Magazines for receiving every earnable rank, merit badge, award, and medal in both the Scouting and Venture Programs, including the Hornaday Conservation Award and the Dr. Albert Einstein Supernova Medal. He was the Texas VFW Scout of the Year, received the 2020 Texas Environmental Excellence Award, and 2019 Operation Homefront’s Air Force Military Child of the Year scholarship for volunteerism, leadership, extracurricular involvement, and other criteria while facing the challenges of military family life.
For his Eagle Scout Project, Mr. Rawald researched, created, and developed a one-hour DVD documentary for the Laughlin Heritage Museum, LLC, in Del Rio to preserve the local military heritage. To complete the 1,906-hour project, he raised $5,000, and trained 15 retired military adults with the computer skills needed to finish the project. He has also assisted 36 other Scouts with their Eagle Scout projects.
Commenting on his Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship, Mr. Rawald said, “I am so excited and grateful to be the first-place recipient of the Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship for Catholic Scouts. I sincerely appreciate the support of those who value higher education and want me to continue in my studies. Pursuing a degree in a competitive field like engineering is challenging and it is encouraging to know that people are willing to support me. This scholarship goes far beyond just subsidizing the cost of an education; it is the quintessence of affirming my dream and providing motivation as a role model for other Scouts.”
The NCCS established the scholarship to honor Mr. Emmett J. Doerr, who was an active member and a dedicated Catholic Scouter. He was the first recipient of the Brother Barnabas Founders Award. His other honors include the Silver Antelope, Silver Beaver, and the St. George medals. The Doerr family and the NCCS are continuing his legacy by offering this scholarship in his name annually to seven distinguished Catholic Scouts.
To be eligible to apply for the Emmett J. Doerr Memorial Scout Scholarship, the Scout must be Catholic, earned the Ad Altare Dei and/ or Pope Pius XII Awards, and received either the Eagle Scout, Summit, or Quartermaster Award. A complete list of award recipients, eligibility requirements and applications can be found online at http://nccs-bsa.org/index.php/college-scholarship.