HERMISTON - Kathy Moore steered 16 boys on the road to Eagle Scout merit status, but now she is taking the back seat.

Moore has worked in scouting for more than 14 years. She has helped her three boys, David, Tony and Sean, attain their Eagle Scout rank as well as numerous others.

At the sixth annual Scout Troop 679 Christmas potluck last week, Moore had no idea she was the guest of honor. She surprised Head Scout Master Larry Ross with a stuffed Teddy "guide bear."

But she was surprised when Ross turned the tables on her and announced "This is our sixth annual Christmas potluck and there is something very special about this one - we are honoring Kathy Moore."

Moore returned to the front of the room with tears in her eyes to accept a plaque commemorating her work to help the boys in her troop attain Eagle status, a Pendleton Woolen Mills blanket and a gift basket from Ross and Liz Marvin, charter organization representatives of the troop.

"It is going to take at least three people to replace Kathy," Ross said. "Kathy has been an assistant scout master, advancement chairman, merit badge counselor, citizenship community, citizenship nation and citizenship world counselor and helped coordinate spring campouts for tenderfoot camp."

Moore has decided to continue on as merit badge counselor and retire from her other duties now that she has a new granddaughter and her sons have achieved their scouting goals.

She began in the scouting program at Hermiston's Highland Hills Elementary when her oldest son, David, was in first grade.

"All of us parents showed up and sat down," Moore said. "The coordinator asked, 'OK, now who is going to run the troop?' That is how it started. Then Bears, Wolves and Cubs. I moved up with the boys, and when Sean came along I moved over to Boy Scouts."

Moore believes in scouting and gives it her all.

"This is my 14th year doing this, since David was a Tiger Cub," Moore said. "When you believe in a program, you help. It teaches all good things - family, clean and safe things. With Scouts, it is a safe and secure environment for camping. You know you're in a safe secure place."

The Scouts commented on Moore's love of camping.

One comment from a Scout parent was "never seen anyone who loves camping more. Kathy is a special person, whether it is due to a hard constitution or if she has something scrambled upstairs."

The Eagle Scouts also spoke of her dedication, and of memories they have from the years with Moore as a leader. From toy machine gun wars in the field outside her back door, to puppet shows, to pretending to change a tire when the lug nuts were on so tight they couldn't get them to budge, they all thanked her for her devotion in helping them acquire their merit badges.

"Without Kathy we wouldn't be where we are today," said Jan Ross, Larry Ross's wife. "Kathy was always there. She did so many things. I can't imagine what we'll do without her."

"It's been a wild ride, a fun ride and, yes, I'm glad it was me," Moore said.

,hr>Carol Marcum can be reached at (800) 522-0255 (ext. 1-306) or by e-mail at cmarcum@eastoregonian.com.

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