The 2015 Wahissa Lodge Chief Hugh Atkinson and his special committee selected 12 individuals to be honored with the Order’s Centurion Award. These individuals will be honored during the 5th week campfire program on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at Camp Raven Knob.
Wahissa Lodge – 2015 Centurion Award Honorees
Jacob Andrew (Drew) Armstrong
Keith Michael Bobbitt
Robert Lewis Mason
Denny Ray Shelton
Bradley Gray Taylor
David (Dave) Whitfield
Jacob Andrew (Drew) Armstrong
Honored for Youth Service | 1987 – 1992
As he sought excellence in emulating Native American singing and dancing, Drew Armstrong’s service as a youth member of the Order of the Arrow left a lasting legacy in Wahissa Lodge. Beginning with his Ordeal in 1987, Drew immersed himself in the traditions of Wahissa Lodge and Camp Raven Knob and made the work and concerns of the lodge and the camp his own. He sought authenticity in ceremonial performance by researching native songs of the Great Plains , by attending powwows as far away as Oklahoma, and by interviewing native singers. Dancing, singing, and drumming became his specialty; he was a vital part of call-out ceremonies and visitor-night campfires at Camp Raven Knob. Drew was a member of Wahissa Lodge’s national champion singing team at the 1990 and 1992 National Order of the Arrow Conferences (NOAC). He worked with other Scouters to mentor Wahissa youth members who won NOAC singing championships in 1996, 1998, 2002, and 2012. Drew continues to be a welcome visiting dancer and drummer at Camp Raven Knob’s Wednesday Night campfires during the summer and at lodge events throughout the year. In the seventy-seven year history of Wahissa Lodge, Drew Armstrong was the first and remains the only African American member to be elected as its chief; Drew served as chief in 1992. Breaking this racial barrier in lodge leadership was a major accomplishment and remains a major inspiration to members who are familiar with the history of racial discrimination in Scouting, particularly in North Carolina and in the American South. The Boy Scout program was not only an educational and social activity for Drew as a youth, it became his career as an adult. Drew has had professional success in the Boy Scouts of America in the Old Hickory Council (North Carolina), in the Last Frontier Council (Oklahoma), and in the Chickasaw Council (Tennessee). Drew Armstrong is a native of Boonville, North Carolina, and a current resident of Memphis, Tennessee. He earned the Eagle Scout Award and is a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge. He is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award.
Keith Michael Bobbitt
Honored for Adult Service | 1976 – 2015
For an Order of the Arrow lodge to be successful, a member of the local Boy Scout council’s professional team must be an advocate for the lodge and for its work, when life is easy and when it is problematic. Keith Bobbitt has been just such an advocate during his ten-year term as staff adviser for Wahissa Lodge and during his twenty-year term as camp director at Camp Raven Knob in North Carolina’s Old Hickory Council. Keith became an Eagle Scout and was elected to the Order as a youth member of Troop 542 in Mount Airy, North Carolina. After demonstrating leadership in organizing chapter and lodge workdays and weekend fellowships and after successful service on Camp Raven Knob’s staff, he was elected chief of Wahissa Lodge in 1974. From his own experience and from the historical experiences of the founders of the lodge, William E. Vaughan-Lloyd, Sr. and George K. (Kel) Hale, Jr., Keith learned the need for meaningful recognition of service by Boy Scouts and adult Scouters to Scouting and to their communities. Keith manages the day-to-day operations of Wahissa Lodge in skillful ways that creates better program and facilities at Camp Raven Knob and that promotes youth leadership. Keith is a true “keeper of the spirit” in the Order of the Arrow, much like the founders of Wahissa Lodge would have experienced it. Keith is a native of Mount Airy, North Carolina, and currently lives in Clemmons, North Carolina. He is a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge and is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award.
Honored for Adult Service | 1975 – 2015
Ray Caudle has been consistent in his devotion to Wahissa Lodge for five decades, particularly since the creation of the Wahissa Lodge cook crew in 1975. Cooking for lodge events was an especially irksome task before the cook crew was established; the lodge’s chapters were assigned to prepare meals for events. As a result, youth and adult members had to spend most of their time at one or more event cooking and cleaning. The establishment of an adult-managed cook crew allowed youth members to focus on other activities at events and gave other adult advisers time away from meal preparation in order to better serve their advisees. Ray has been the head cook for numerous activities including lodge fellowships, Ordeal weekends, Cub Scout parent-son camporees, Order of the Arrow section conclaves, and National Camp Schools, among others. Scouters who have worked with Ray have a deep respect and loyality for him as a leader. Ray lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge and is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award, the James E. West Fellowship Award, and the Silver Beaver Award.
Honored for Youth Service | 2008 – 2015
In 2009, at a young age, Hunter Day became the National Straight Dance Champion at the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC). Three attempts, in years subsequent to his dance championship, to be elected chief of the lodge failed; and Hunter, to his credit, accepted elections to various vice-chief positions or appointments to lodge committees. During these years, Hunter also began to build the nucleus of a Southern singing team with the dream of continuing a Wahissa tradition – bringing a NOAC signing championship home. He returned to NOAC in 2012 with Wahissa Lodge’s singing team, which placed first in southern singing. After 2009, Hunter worked hard to become more emotionally mature and to be a better decision-maker in Wahissa Lodge and as a member of the camp staff. He remained loyal to Camp Raven Knob by working in the Scoutcraft Area, becoming area director, then being promoted to head camp commissioner in 2014. Today, at age twenty-one, he is the program director at Camp Raven Knob for the summer of 2015. Hunter’s early success as an Order of the Arrow dancer may have given him a sense that reward comes easily, but his perseverance when expected reward did not come after early success helped him to achieve respect among his peers that had to be earned with a lot of hard work and cooperative effort. Hunter’s personal growth, from age fifteen to twenty-one, as a member of Wahissa Lodge has been exceptional and inspirational. Hunter Day lives in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge; he is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award.
Honored for Youth Service | 1994 – 2003
Homer Dearmin began his Order of the Arrow journey as a youth by taking his Ordeal in 1994; his youth service ended in 2003. He was well known for having a great sense of humor and a spirit of willingness to work. Never afraid to lead by example, Homer knew how to lead the young men around him who were chapter vice chiefs and lodge vice chiefs because he had been a top leader in his chapter and the lodge. He served as Wahissa Lodge chief in 2001. Homer had a strong desire to properly learn how to be a Southern singer at the drum, and he has continued that zeal as an adult. Homer’s dedication to Indian Affairs in the Order of the Arrow had him traveling many hours during his free time to participate and to learn and to instruct others. He leads with the mentality that youth become part of his team rather than just working for him in a position. Many people have fond memories of sitting and cutting up with Homer at the drum at Ordeals, Spring Fellowships, and Fall Fellowships. In addition to being lodge chief, Homer held various youth positions including Eke Otkia chapter chief and lodge vice chief of administration. He was a member of Wahissa Lodge’s national championship drum teams at NOAC in 1998 and 2002. Homer is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge. The leadership that Homer showed in the Order of the Arrow as a youth carried over into other aspects of his life, including his jobs as town manager of various municipalities and as a leader in his Masonic Lodge. Homer is a native of Pinnacle, North Carolina, and now resides in King, North Carolina.
Honored for Adult Service | 1991 – 2015
Travis Gentry brings out the best in young men and helps them to be the best servant leaders that they can be. He teaches young men about the importance of leadership in service to others, not just for recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. The lessons that Travis taught in leadership over the past twenty-five years now help young men to lead in their families, in their workplaces, and in Scouting. The adult leaders that Travis has turned young men into through the Order of the Arrow is evident outside of Scouting in that they have become university-level student body presidents, university-level club presidents, military officers, municipal managers, police officers, and business leaders. Travis has a passion for helping to introduce young arrrowmen to the Southern Plains drum in Wahissa Lodge. He has helped to continue the strong singing/drum tradition since 1991, when he made the youth to adult transition. Travis has the skill and the patience to teach youth and adult arrowmen who wish to become involved in Indian Affairs from the introductory level upward. The foundation for Travis Gentry’s exceptional adult service was laid by him as a youth. He served as Minsi Chapter Chief in 1986 then as Wahissa Lodge chief in 1988. He was the 1990 SE-7 Conclave chief, the 1989 and 1990 SE-7 vice chief of program, and a member of Wahissa Lodge’s 1990 NOAC national champion drum team. As an adult, Travis has been Vigil adviser for Wahissa Lodge six times. He was the 1999 SR-7B Conclave adviser and was the staff adviser for Wahissa Lodge from 2002 to 2005. He has been SR-7B section vice chief of program adviser six times, SR-7B section Indian Affairs adviser three times, and SR-7B training adviser three times. Travis developed from scratch the SR-7B Chapter Leadership Summit and has been its adviser since 2010. Serving as a deacon in his church, God is always number one for Travis and the young men under his watchful care. Travis is a native of Elkin, North Carolina, and currently resides there. He is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge. He is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award and of the Silver Beaver Award.
Honored for Youth Service | 1997 – 2002
Jason Kemp is first and foremost a dedicated Christian. He often leads prayers and Bible studies and shares his faith via email. The fact that Jason wore a Boy Scout uniform and an Order of the Arrow sash bettered the Scouting program in many ways more than the program benefited him. In 1999, his trail of service in Wahissa Lodge began humbly on the waterfront staff at Camp Raven Knob, and he agreed to take the position as co-chair of the 1999 SR-7B Conclave committee. Jason rallied the entire Wahissa family to support the conclave and could have been elected lodge chief, but he refused to run and to campaign against his best friend for that title. In his own humble way, Jason was able to continue to serve in higher capacities. He was elected SR-7B chief in 2000 and Southern Region chief in 2001, thereby smoothing the path for all Wahissa youth who have served above the lodge level since Jason’s time. Jason created spiritual bonds of brotherhood at the section level that remain in place today. As region chief, Jason hosted several National Leadership Seminars. These seminars featured a new format in training wherein the region chief was asked to have a high degree of personal contact with everyday arrowmen. Jason’s work with the section and region not only boosted the level of leadership expected of those officers at high levels of service, but raised the national expectation of the personal time and effort that regional and national officers should devote during their terms. Jason is an Eagle Scout and a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge. He is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award. For his service as region chief, Jason was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow. Jason is a native of Mount Airy, North Carolina, and has lived in various locations during his service to our country in the United State Marine Corps.
Robert Lewis Mason
Honored for Youth Service | 2000 – 2009
Robert Mason’s service as a youth member of Wahissa Lodge and in the Order of the Arrow is unique and exceptional. He is one of very few Wahissa youth members whose full involvement in lodge leadership quickly expanded from the local lodge to major section and national Order of the Arrow activities. His current positions as an appointed key volunteer to the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow (2010 to present); as a member of the National Committee’s Subcommittee for Awards, Recognitions, History, and Preservation (2011 to present); and as the Order of the Arrow’s Lodge History Project lead adviser (2012 to 2016), represent Robert’s inspirational contributions to the Order and remind current lodge members that solid youth work at the lodge level can lead to important service at other levels as an adult. Robert was very active as a Boy Scout; he earned the Eagle Scout Award in 2004. His work on the staff at Camp Raven Knob from 2003 to 2008 included summers as the camp chaplain, as a camp commissioner, and as the assistant program director. In Wahissa Lodge, he served as a chapter chief, vice chief of activities, and lodge chief (2006). At the section level, from 2005 through 2009, he served two terms as SR-7B vice chief and two terms at SR-7B chief. Robert “paid his dues” at every level as a youth leader and worked hard to create a service-learning environment in Wahissa Lodge and in section SR-7B that would have been worthy of emulation by any lodge or section. The high point of Robert’s youth service came in 2008 when he served as the ArrowCorps5 Digital Team Coordinator and the ArrowCorps5 Youth Historian. The ArrowCorps5 program sent thousands of Order of the Arrow members for voluntary service to five national forests in the United States. Robert and his working group compiled more than 80,000 still photos, 100+ hours of video documentation, and 2000+ pages of paper documentation involving the massive program. From all of that documentary work, Robert helped to design a coffee table book published by the Order of the Arrow, helped to create a short film in cooperation with the United States Forest Service, and developed an exhibit about ArrowCorps5 for the 2009 National Order of the Arrow Conference. For his devoted service to this project, Robert was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow in 2009. Robert is a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge and a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award and the James E. West Fellowship Award. Robert is a native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and now lives near Washington, DC.
Denny Ray Shelton
Honored for Adult Service | 1964 – 2015
Denny Shelton received the Silver Beaver Award in 1976, at which time he was recognized for a mere fifteen years of his now more than fifty years of voluntary work and service in the Scouting program. Even earlier, Wahissa Lodge selected Denny for Vigil membership and bestowed upon him the name “Pipemaker” in recognition of his efforts to replace the original pipe that was and remains the totem of Wahissa Lodge and that had been broken. The broken pipe had been carved and presented to Wahissa Lodge by Mr. Otto Hornung of the Detroit Area Council in Michigan. “Uncle Otto” was a Scouter who was famous for his woodcarving and fire building skills and who visited an Old Hickory Council camporee at Raven Knob Park in 1954 to demonstrate those skills, just before the park was purchased for Boy Scout use. Through stress and wear, the “Uncle Otto” pipe was broken about 1966. Denny traced the outline of the broken pipe and carved a replacement for ceremonial use. The original pipe was repaired, retired, and now – decades later – placed on permanent display in the Raven Knob Boy Scout Museum (www.boyscoutmuseum.us). Since crafting the first replacement pipe, Denny has crafted dozens of similar pipes for Scout and adult volunteers in Wahissa Lodge. The countless hours that he has spent carving blocks of wood and creating finely-beaded accents for each pipe represent the spirit and the beauty of service to others that has been and remains present in the Order of the Arrow, in the best Scouting summer camps like Camp Raven Knob, and in the Boy Scouts of America. Receiving one of Denny’s handcrafted pipes as a gift is a great honor in Wahissa Lodge because his work represents an indelible connection to the history of the Order of the Arrow in North Carolina’s Old Hickory Council and at Camp Raven Knob. Denny is a native of Mount Airy, North Carolina, and resides there today. He is a recipient of the James E. West Fellowship Award.
Honored for Youth Service | 2001 – 2006
Justin Stirewalt was one of the most dedicated, hard-working youth in the history of Wahissa Lodge. As a young leader in the Order of the Arrow, Justin served as the lodge’s vice chief of publications and as chairman of its 2005 SR-7B Conclave committee, as section SR-7B vice chief of program, and as section SR-7B chief. He was twice a recipient of the E. Urner Goodman scholarship while attending college. Justin was effective in the lodge by harnessing the skills of communication and collaboration. While never the Wahissa lodge chief, his leadership brought together the whole lodge at critical times. Once dedicated to purposeful work and a charted plan, he forged a way to make it happen – a trait still evident in his adult work in Scouting. As conclave chairman in 2005, Justin helped to cement Wahissa’s reputation within section SR-7B and established Raven Knob as the host of the largest conclave in the history of the Order of the Arrow. Justin established a system for hosting conclaves that Wahissa and other lodges use today; he showcased every single event on the schedule at the 2005 Conclave with style – a hallmark of Justin’s work and dedication. As SR-7B chief during the 2006 Conclave, Justin worked tirelessly to establish a team of officers and chairmen who would in every way top his efforts created the year before at home at Raven Knob. It is no easy task to follow Wahissa in the conclave rotation, since Wahissa’s members are second to none in hosting the section event – a proud tradition. As SR-7B chief, Justin traveled to many other lodges as a guest speaker and ambassador for the section at local lodge events, a rare undertaking for section officers. Justin skillfully helped arrowmen to see the benefit of training and advancement in rank. Justin remained active with his troop, his venture crew and sea scout ship, driving many hours to and from college to attend meetings and outings. Even with a strenuous college schedule, Justin made it happen. Lodge brothers took note of his devotion and were often drawn to his organizational skill and ability to lead. He took Wood Badge as a young adult and used his work with the Order of the Arrow to work his ticket. Justin stands out as a lodge leader of his time. He is an Eagle Scout, a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge, and a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award.
Bradley Gray Taylor
Honored for Youth Service | 2008 – 2012
Bradley Taylor’s youth service in Wahissa Lodge had a sense of professionalism, maturity, and courtesy that exceeded the usual expectations of youth leaders in the Order of the Arrow. As important, Bradley added to the reputation of Wahissa Lodge as a source of knowledge about the Order’s past and as a source of efforts to preserve the Order’s history in the future. During his term as chief of Wahissa Lodge in 2010, Bradley did not visualize adult advisers as adversaries who were present simply to derail his personal plans or to spoil his “fun”; he saw them as valuable resources who could further his goals for the lodge and its youth members. He encouraged his vice chiefs and committee chairmen to work with their advisers, and he expected the lodge’s adult advisers not to let youth leaders fail in their commitment to each other and to the lodge. One of Bradley’s major accomplishments as lodge chief was to plan and to conduct extensive renovations at the G. Kellock Hale, Jr., Training Center (Wahissa Lodge Building) at Camp Raven Knob. The project involved everything from roof replacement to kitchen renovation; it was only the second major upgrade for the building since its construction in 1974. The entire project required extensive youth and adult teamwork and was completed before the SR-7B Conclave at Raven Knob in 2011. The excellent condition of the Wahissa Lodge Building today can be attributed to Bradley’s efforts during and after his term as chief. A second major accomplishment of Bradley’s youth service was his work with the history of Wahissa Lodge and the Order of the Arrow. In 2009, he worked with the Old Hickory Council’s Historical Association to create a lodge history display to showcase Wahissa’s past at the 2009 National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC). Using the display, he entered NOAC’s oral history competition and placed first among all lodges for his presentation. In 2012, Bradley was appointed the Lead Youth Chairman for the NOAC Center for History & Preservation (the NOAC Museum); he helped to create and to design exhibits, to set up the museum itself before NOAC began, and to manage tours of the museum during NOAC. Bradley was the youth leader of a staff of more than forty individuals who created more than one hundred exhibits that were viewed by at least 7,000 visitors. In 2015, Bradley is working as an adult volunteer with the 2015 NOAC museum. He was named by the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow as a key volunteer on its Recognitions, Awards, History, & Preservation Subcommittee. Bradley is an Eagle Scout with six palms and a Vigil member of Wahissa Lodge. He is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award.
David (Dave) Whitfield
Honored for Adult Service | 1994 – 2015
The part of the Order of the Arrow’s obligation that refers to being “in the midst of irksome tasks and weighty responsibilities” aptly describes what is required of camp rangers at Boy Scout summer camps. Dave Whitfield, who began serving as Camp Raven Knob’s ranger on January 1, 1994, has handled such tasks and responsibilities in an exceptional way. Day in and day out, whether he is dealing with a major leak in the camp’s water system or removing dead trees from a campsite or constructing a new program shelter, Dave performs his job in a way that makes Raven Knob the best place to be a Scout camper and an adult volunteer. He has worked for more than twenty years to upgrade camp facilities and to make sure that new construction is durable and generally appropriate for a Boy Scout camp. When Dave and his wife, Dale, and their two young sons moved into the ranger’s residence at Raven Knob in 1994, the house became a front porch for the camp itself. It was obvious at that time that Dave wanted to work with youth and adults for the betterment of the camp and that he wanted everyone who interacted with the camp to feel welcome. He continued the tradition of close association between Wahissa Lodge and Raven Knob’s everyday operation; he has facilitated or organized countless useful projects for Ordeal candidates who are inducted into the Order of the Arrow to preserve Scouting’s camping traditions. Dave, himself, progressed from Ordeal candidate in 1994 to Vigil member in 1998 in what must be record time for an adult member in Wahissa Lodge. He is a recipient of the Order of the Arrow’s Founder’s Award and of the James E. West Fellowship Award. It would be impossible to name a member of Wahissa Lodge who has been more “devoted to the service of others,” especially when “others” roll through the Raven Knob’s camp gate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and expect an exceptional Scouting experience every time. Dave is a native of Highlands, New Jersey, and presently a full time resident at Camp Raven Knob.