Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Del Loder and the second generation of OA

Del Loder represents the last of the second generation of Order of the Arrow members. He was 19 when he first met the founder of the OA, E. Urner Goodman. As Loder relates, Goodman was shocked when Loder repeated something he had learned about him a decade before and recalled it ten years later when he became a Vigil Honor member of the honor society for Boy Scouts founded in 1915. That connection and hundreds of others they made in the years leading up to Goodman's death cemented a relationship of mutual respect. Loder, a dynamic broadcaster, public speaker and comedian on more than one occasion is a jovial sort of fellow, but he is intractable. For years he perfected the oddities that existed in the ceremonial work of the OA between different lodges so that only one officially approved manuscript would exist that would pass muster to all who might find any part of it objectable. To be certain he did not do it alone, but let there be no doubt that he did so with the express blessing of Goodman, who is the most revered figure in OA history, even surpassing that of co-founder Carroll Edson. Loder is at home at the National Order of the Arrow Conference (NOAC), held biennially on college campuses. This year at Indiana University he is definitely in his element and loving all of the deserved attention he has received. Loder became the fourth person to receive the Legacy of Servant Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award, which requires a minimum of 25 years of service to the OA and a previous citation of the Distinguished Service Award. Loder's work with Scouting over the course of the last 65 years has had significant impact on the quality of the ceremonies practiced by OA members. It is only right that he be singled out for meritorious service as the ranks of his generation have been greatly lessened through attrition. It would seem that my position as one of the third generation has been enhanced by knowing Del and his deep connection to this order that promotes brotherhood and fellowship among Boy Scouts. Although Del had a health scare a few months back, he says he is feeling better than he has in a long time. May the Great Scoutmaster continue to bless him with good health and keep him safe and in our midst for a long time to come.

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