VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — For 50 years, Wayne Richardson has devoted his adult life to the Boy Scouts of America.
Most of that time has been spent as Scoutmaster of Troop 493 at Wycliffe Presbyterian Church in the Great Neck area of Virginia Beach.
"This is my 45th year here, at this place. I actually started in 1970," Richardson told WTKR's Todd Corillo during a recent Monday night troop meeting.
A Boy Scout himself as a young man, Richardson became involved as an adult while serving in the Navy.
"A friend of mine in the Navy said, 'Hey, why don't you come camping with us this weekend? We've got a group that's going camping, and you will probably like it.' I like camping, so I said, 'Sure.' When I arrived, I didn't understand that there were going to be 25 kids along with us going camping, and that's how it started," he shared.
Ever since, Richardson has been a role model for scores of Scouts who have benefited from his leadership.
More than 100 of them have earned the title of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in the program.
After decades of leadership, Richardson plans to step down this spring and pass the torch to someone new.
"It's going to be hard. but I've told myself, 'I've got to do it.' I can't do the camping anymore. I can't do a lot of the physical activities that the Scouts require," he stated.
Before that happens, Troop 493 wanted to be sure Richardson understands how much they appreciate all he's done.
Nancy Jutton, Secretary of the Troop 493 Adult Committee, nominated Richardson for the News 3 Everyday Hero award.
"Wayne is absolutely amazing. This is a volunteer position and he has dedicated his whole life to helping the boys achieve Eagle Scout," Jutton told Corillo.
In addition to the award, our community partner, Southern Bank, had a $300 Visa gift card for Richardson.
Overcome with gratitude, Richardson had some advice for all the Scouts to come.
"It doesn't matter how many touchdowns you score or how many home runs you hit if you're not going to be a professional player. But it does make a difference if you're an Eagle Scout, because that carries you all the way through."