The big day was almost a year in the making, a day that Scoutmaster Steven R. Smith, 55, said he would always remember was in order to recognize his many years of devotion to the Boy Scouts of America.
"I was one hundred percent surprised," Smith said of the March 22 event. "Everyone kept telling me it was something else."
Taken by surprise, Smith accepted a Scoutmaster Award of Merit from the BSA. The ceremony was held at St. Joseph the Worker Church in Liverpool.
Smith expressed his gratitude and his likening toward four framed photographs he was given. One was a photograph taken of the entire troop on top of Graves Mountain in the Adirondacks, and another with all the adult helpers. Even more surprising to Smith, he was given a photograph of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Navy Blue Angels on which both contained signatures from both crews.
"We had taken a year to put this together," said Frank Fabiano, a friend and assistant scoutmaster to Smith. "We just wanted to honor the guy."
Members of the BSA council attended, along with parents and all the troop members.
"Everyone managed to keep this a secret," Smith said. "And I just spoke to a few parents that morning about other events coming up."
Smith of Liverpool, better known for his work as the scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 203, started his journey through scouthood when he was 9 years old.
Because of his love for camping and outdoor activity, the scouts had that and much more to offer him. He said there were many things that were appealing about becoming a Scout.
"The camping is great," Smith said. "But there is an ability to learn about life, survival, doing the right things in life, and having fun too."