WATERVILLE — Joe Shelton of Troop 479 in China recently was presented the District Award of Merit at the Boy Scout District Dinner held at the Waterville Lodge of Elks.

Shelton has been active for the past five years serving as assistant Scoutmaster and popcorn kernel, as well as with helping with the improvement of advancement in the troop where he serves as a merit badge counselor, and “most notably,” according to Troop 479 Advancement Chairman Ron Emery, “Joe has been a tremendous asset to the Kennebec Valley District with his tireless work on Camp Bomazeen, BSA Maine,” according to a news release from Chuck Mahaleris. Assistant Scoutmaster Matt Bodine said, “Joe has been very active in the troop from day one. He immediately became trained after his son joined the troop and joined as an assistant Scoutmaster and has accompanied the troop on nearly every campout during his son’s Scouting career,” according to the release.

The District Award of Merit is a council-level award presented by the district and it is the highest award a Scout district can bestow on a Scouter.

Presenting the award to Shelton were Kennebec Valley District Chairman Bruce Rueger and Troop 479 Advancement Chair Ronald Emery. who nominated Shelton for the distinguished honor. “This is a great day for Scouting,” Rueger said, according to the release. “I was proud to be able to present the award to such a solid member of our Scouting community and the broader community as well. Joe does a lot to help so many.”

The Kennebec Valley District of Scouting, which serves the counties of Kennebec, Lincoln, Knox, Franklin and Somerset, can present the award to as many as three volunteer Scout leaders, but this year selected two recipients. The second was unable to attend the dinner and will be presented the award at a later date. Valerie Drever of the Jefferson Scouting programs represented the District Award of Merit selection committee and provided information about the high bar set for nominees being considered for this award.