PRESTONSBURG — A longtime Scoutmaster was recognized last week as being the 2013 Floyd County Distinguished Citizen, as chosen by the Boy Scouts of America.
James Merrill Goble, who served as Scoutmaster of Troop 27 for two stints totaling 18 years, was honored during a dinner Thursday night at May Lodge.
Affiliated with Boy Scouts ever since attending a camping trip to Red River Gorge at age 12, Goble earned the rank of Eagle Scout, then, as Scoutmaster, helped 23 other boys do the same.
Goble was introduced by one of those Scouts, Dr. Blake Burchett, who noted that Goble, like Joe B. Hall and Nick Saban, followed legends in their fields and achieved their own success.
“James had to come in behind E.B. May,” Burchett said. “That’s a pretty tough act to follow up, and he did. The fact that he had 23 people people get Eagle Scout under his leadership says it all.”
Burchett said Goble was a quiet but steady force who shaped young boys into men.
“His leadership was sometimes he was behind me, pushing me,” Burchett said. “And then, sometimes he was ahead of me, pulling me. But I always felt he was always beside me.”
Goble was humble in accepting the honor, saying he felt there were many who deserved the award more than him. However, he said Scouting was as much an influence on him as it was on the boys he led.
“Scouting was always fun for me,” Goble said. “It was a pleasure. It was wonderful to see the young men come in and grow up, mature and help people along the way. And you know what? The Scoutmaster grows along with them. I learned a lot.”
The Scouts first recognized a Distinguished Floyd Countian in 1998, and have done so each year since 2002. Past recipients include Paul Hunt Thompson, Phillip D. Damron, E.B. May, Ray Bradbury, William G. Francis, Floyd County Eagle Scouts, Greg Stumbo, R.D. “Doc” Marshall, Willard Kinzer, Denzil Allen and Denny D. Dorton.