Mid-American Council to honor local leaders at “Citizen of the Year” luncheon

The Mid-America Council, Boy Scouts of America, is pleased to announce that John P. Nelson, board chairman and CEO of SilverStone Group, will be recognized as its “Citizen of the Year” at the 36th annual luncheon. Werner Enterprises has been selected as the Council’s “Corporate Partner of the Year,” and Gina Ponce, director of Outreach Services for Bellevue University will receive the “Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award.” The Citizen of the Year Luncheon is scheduled for noon on Tuesday, June 27, at the Holiday Inn Central, Omaha.

“John P. Nelson has been selected as this year’s Citizen of the Year because of his continuous support of Scouting and our community,” says Scout Executive/President Lloyd E. Roitstein, Mid-America Council.

Nelson has served on the Council’s Board of Trustees since 1975. For more than 30 years, he has actively served on the Council’s Endowment Committee, provided support to the Council for its annual “Friends of Scouting” campaign, and he and his wife Anne are Heritage Patrons. In addition to his personal support, he has provided the services of his company to assist the Council with administrative needs.

Community service has long been a tradition in Nelson’s personal and professional life. His father, Red, served as president of the former Southwest Iowa Boy Scout Council in Council Bluffs, IA, and since 1998, his son John has been a board member for the Mid-America Council.

A graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, Nelson enlisted in the U.S. Navy, assigned as a supply officer. Following his honorable discharge, he returned to Iowa and joined his family’s insurance company, now SilverStone Group.

Nelson is a Chartered Property and Casualty underwriter. In addition to the Mid-America Council, he is a member of several boards, including Ak-Sar-Ben, Bellevue University, Council Bluffs Public Library Foundation, Doane College, Iowa West Foundation, Iowa Western Community College Foundation, Methodist Health System, Jennie Edmundson Memorial Hospital, Joslyn Art Museum, Merrymakers Association, STRATCOM Consultation Committee and the United Way of the Midlands.

Werner Enterprises and its president, C. L. Werner, will be honored with the “Corporate Partner of the Year” award from the Mid-America Council. “The Council and the young people it serves have benefited from Werner Enterprises in numerous ways,” Roitstein says. “Werner supplies the trucks to transport the outdoor and other gear for more than 300 Scouts and volunteers, representing the Council, to the National Jamboree in Virginia. Also, for the past decade, the company has provided trucks to collect and ship to the Food Bank the thousands and thousands of cans of food gathered by Scouts during the annual ?Scouting for Food’ drive.” Werner Enterprises sponsors the Council’s annual “Shoot Out” event, which raises funds for inner-city Scouting programs. Roitstein adds, “C.L.’s daughter Gail Werner Robertson and son-in-law Scott Robertson have followed his lead of community involvement, by serving on the Council’s Board of Trustees and they have chaired various committees.”

The “Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award” recognizes individuals and organizations for their dedicated efforts to bring Scouting to youth in urban and rural areas. Established by the Boy Scouts of America in 1978, this special recognition is named for the late Whitney M. Young, Jr., civil rights spokesperson and executive director of the Urban League from 1961-1971. Gina Ponce serves as the chair for the Mid-America Council’s “Scoutreach” Committee and is devoted to providing all youth the opportunity to benefit from the Scouting program, regardless of background or financial resources. As a former Cub Scout Den Leader, Ponce knows first-hand what Scouting can do for families. Her sons, now 21 and 30, credit her great example as both a parent and a community leader for their success today. Because of her efforts, the first annual “Scoutreach Banquet” held this past spring raised funds to “sponsor” new Scouts from South Omaha. Ponce is active with the Scouts’ “Uniform Bank,” which provides young people in need a “gently used” uniform, and helps the boys feel a part of their Scout unit’s activities. She has been instrumental in connecting with resources so South Omaha Scouts can enjoy an outdoor camping experience, including transportation, food, volunteers and activities. Ponce is a graduate of Bellevue University, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies.

A limited number of tickets are still available for the luncheon. For ticket information, please contact Happy Slater at the Durham Scout Center, in Omaha, (402) 431-9BSA (9272).

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