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Father-son duo earn highest Boy Scout honor

By Jessica Ferguson jferguson@news-journal.com
Nov. 30, 2012 at 11 p.m.

Neither Rogers Pope Sr. nor his son, Rogers Pope Jr., reached the level of Eagle Scout when they participated in Boy Scouts of America in their youth, but their dedication to the East Texas community has earned them the highest Scout honor - the Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award.

The father-son duo was awarded the honor Friday afternoon at Pinecrest Country Club in Longview before about 250 colleagues, friends and community leaders.

Rogers Pope Sr., chairman and CEO of Texas Bank and Trust, and Roger Pope Jr., president and COO of the bank, were selected for the honor because of "their devotion to the citizens and youth of East Texas," according to Mike Northcutt.

Northcutt serves as president of the East Texas Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

The honorees said they were embarrassed and humbled by the honor, as they are not men that choose the limelight.

In fact, organizers said the two had to be persuaded to accept the honor.

Mike Ballew, Scout executive and CEO of the council, said the men are quite deserving of the honor as they embody the Scout motto: "Do a good turn daily."

"We are honoring them because they've inspired others," Ballew said. "Because of that, East Texas is a better place to live and raise our children."

Karen Partee, senior vice president and director of public relations with Texas Bank and Trust, Pope Sr.'s son-in-law Mark McClelland and family friend and Chick-fil-A owner Chuck King spoke on the experiences and accomplishments of the honorees.

"Their sincerity makes Texas Bank and Trust more than just a bank," Partee said. "The organization is built on servant leadership. The belief of servanthood is deeply rooted in these men."

The men, she said, share a common vision of improving the lives of their neighbors and have done so by assisting in a variety of cultural and educational activities throughout the East Texas community.

McClelland, a pastor, noted the impact that Pope Sr. has had on his life, filling the place of his deceased father and making him feel as if he were one of Pope's own.

He compared his father-in-law to David in the Bible as a man who leads with integrity of heart.

"He leads by serving others," he said.

King spoke highly of his friend of 18 years, Rogers Pope Jr.

"He loves his community," he said. "We'd all be surprised if we saw his calendar and how much time he devotes to his community."

"We are accepting this award on behalf of Texas Bank and Trust," the bank CEO said, acknowledging the assistance of his employees in making the achievement possible.

"Our world would be a better place if we all aspired to do one good turn each day," he said.

Pope Jr. noted that his position as a recipient wouldn't be possible without his family, especially his father, whom he called his hero.

In one word, he described the honor and his life as "blessed."

"I hope to continue on the good life road," he said.

In addition to his duties at Texas Bank and Trust, Rogers Pope Sr. serves as chairman of the board of First State Bank of Overton and Lindale State Bank. He is also chairman of the Bruce McMillan Jr. Foundation.

The organization supports area churches and charitable groups, provides funding for universities and scholarships for East Texas students.

His son serves as secretary-treasurer of the Independent Bankers Association of Texas and chairman-elect of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking Foundation. He also serves on a variety of other business-related boards.

Both are active with the Longview Chamber of Commerce, the Longview Rotary Club and a host of other organizations throughout the East Texas area.

The luncheon also serves as a fundraiser for BSA.

More than $79,000 was raised for the council at the luncheon, according to Scouts officials.

The Distinguished Citizens Good Turn Award has been presented since 1992 to people who support Boy Scouts and participate in multiple nonprofit organizations in their communities. More than 14,000 people and 3,000 adult volunteers are part of the East Texas Area Council of Boy Scouts.

Past recipients of the award include Gregg County Judge Bill Stoudt; Lonnie A. "Bo" Pilgrim, founder of Pilgrim's Pride poultry company; and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert.



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