Chuck King, owner of two Longview Chick-fil-A franchises that employ more than 200 people, said he has fond memories of being a Boy Scout while growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, in the 1970s.
“I have some great memories of being a Boy Scout, memories of camaraderie and great friendships and character development,” King said Thursday afternoon. “It was a wonderful experience.”
The East Texas Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, based in Tyler, apparently is fond of King, too. The council, which serves 17 counties with more than 7,000 Scouts, honored King with the 2019 Distinguished Citizen Good Turn Award at a luncheon Thursday at Pinecrest Country Club.
The council, which has presented the award in Longview for more than 20 years, named King based on a recommendation of a 10-member committee, council CEO Dewayne Stephens said before the 90-minute luncheon.
The council cited King’s involvement in a variety of church, civic and business organizations over the past 36 years. Among other things, King is chairman of the board of directors of the Longview Chamber of Commerce and has served on the boards of Texas Bank and Trust, the President’s Advisory Council of LeTourneau University, the Texas Eastman Community Advisory Board, Longview Downtown Development Corp., American Red Cross, Longview 20/20 and Christus Good Shepherd Ethics Advisory Board.
King was the center of attention Thursday as speakers praised his accomplishments at a gathering of an estimated 160 people.
Emcee Dan Droege started the awards program by joking about meeting King after arriving in Longview from Dallas 23 years ago.
He said people referred to King as “So and So,” adding he first thought King’s name was Chuck Fil-A.
After the second year in Longview, Droege recalled, “I thought his name was Chick King.”
He said he now considers King a friend and “brother in Christ.”
Droege introduced King’s son Braden, a banking officer at Texas Bank and Trust in Longview, and Rogers Pope Jr., vice chairman and CEO of Texas Bank and Trust.
Braden King said he appreciated his father’s sense of humor.
“You never see him without a smile on his face,” the son said.
He congratulated his father and hugged him.
Pope said he first met King in 1983 when Pope was a junior at Longview High School and King owned the Chick-fil-A at the Longview Mall at the time.
King now owns the two Chick-fil-As on Loop 281.
“You know the bulk of this workforce is young,” Pope said. He said King has been a major employer of youths.
After Pope spoke, audience members watched a brief video in which two Chick-fil-A executives from corporate headquarters in Atlanta gave testimonials about King.
King took the stage to accept the award, accompanied by his wife, Rhonda, and past recipients of the award.
He said that after moving from Atlanta 37 years ago, he intended to stay in Longview temporarily but soon changed his mind.
“I quickly found people here were very special,” King said.