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Chalkley receives Spirit of Scouting Award

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‘Trip’ Chalkley with this year’s Spirit of Scouting Award.

Chuck Hurd, Battlefield District Vice Chairman, presents Hanover County Commonwealth’s attorney ‘Trip’ Chalkley with this year’s Spirit of Scouting Award.

Longtime Commonwealth’s Attorney for Hanover County R. E. “Trip” Chalkley was awarded the 2022 Battlefield District Spirit of Scouting Award last week, honoring his many years of outstanding service to the county.

A reception was held on behalf of Chalkley at the Hanover Tavern on May 5, gathering together his family members, the Boy Scouts of America Heart of Virginia Council members and local scouting supporters.

The Heart of Virginia Council delivers scouting to over 8,500 youth and adult members in 24 counties of the Central Virginia and Richmond area. The Battlefield District, in particular, covers Henrico and Hanover counties east of Interstate 95, including the counties of New Kent and Charles City.

Chuck Hurd, Battlefield District Vice Chairman, presented Chalkley with this year’s Spirit of Scouting Award.

Hurd said the recipient is an individual who was nominated by a committee of local scouting volunteers and does not have to have a scouting background. Instead, the recipient of the award needs to represent and live by the characteristics that embody the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Hurd recited the Scout Oath to the crowd.

“On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight,” he said.

He also recited the Scout Law, which consists of 12 goals for each scout to live up to every day. According to the law, a scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Hurd said Chalkley as embodies all of these virtues and discussed his impressive background in law.

Chalkley has been an active member of the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Association of Commonwealth Attorney’s, National Attorneys Association and the Hanover County Bar Association, where he served as president from 1997 to 1998. He has also been affiliated with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Mechanicsville Ruritan Club and the University of Richmond Spider Club.

Chalkley earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Richmond in 1973, majoring in both history and political science while minoring in classics. He received his law degree from T.C. Williams School of Law in 1976.

Following graduation, he served in a private practice from 1976 to 1978, served as assistant Commonwealth’s attorney for the City of Richmond from 1978 to 1979 and for Hanover County from 1980 to 1983. He started a private practice specializing in criminal defense from 1984 to 2007 and eventually assumed the role of the Hanover County Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2008 – a position he maintains today.

“He’s committed to protecting the innocent, prosecuting the guilty, and he believes that a well-trained and dedicated law professional is the best friend of an innocent person,” Hurd said.

Hurd added Chalkley is most proud of his family and enjoys spending as much time with them as he can. He also enjoys golfing, reading, watching sports and has been a member of the Fairmount Christian Church with his family since 1993.

“Thank you Trip for being an outstanding member of our scouting community and for accepting the Battlefield District Spirit of Scouting Award,” Hurd said. “We look forward to your continued leadership and investment in Hanover County.”

The crowd of attendees honored Chalkley with a standing ovation.

He said while he does not have a scouting background, he has made dear friends with those involved in scouting and credits learning everything that scouting teaches from his grandparents, parents, siblings, family and the friends he’s surrounded himself with over the years.

“I’m very, very lucky to be born into a family, to have a family, to have such dear friends that epitomize what scouting is each and every day,” Chalkley said. “They make me better through that association… I am truly, truly honored… thank you so much for this, and God bless you.”

In addition to honoring Chalkley, the reception aimed to raise needed funds to support and grow scouting programs across Central Virginia. Attendees had the opportunity to make a pledge to support scouting in 2022 before and during the ceremony.

Bill Givler, director of field services for the Heart of Virginia Council, discussed the growth of scouting within the Heart of Virginia Council despite challenges faced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, per former Gov. Ralph Northam’s order, all summer camps were shut down across Virginia. The Heart of Virginia Council was able to reopen camps in the summer of 2021 and had 1,300 participants. Over 2,000 new Cub Scouts joined their Scout Council last fall, and they ended with 240 different scout troops and Cub Scout packs across their 24 counties.

The Heart of Virginia had 200 Eagle Scouts last year who contributed a total of 37,000 combined community service hours. In addition, 15% more youth are involved in scouting today than they were this time last year.

“The pandemic fears have eased somewhat, and we are seeing lots of families who want to get the kids involved in our programs,” Givler said. “We feel like it’s because we offer great outdoor programs for families, and we’re teaching values in the Scouting Law that are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago.”

Michael Andrews Jr., Battlefield District Chairman, discussed some of the accomplishments achieved locally as well as challenges overcome with the pandemic.

The realities of the pandemic illustrated the importance of in-person scouting, Andrews said. Despite these challenges, with the help of technology and their exceptional volunteers, they were able to host virtual scouting programs.

“What a perfect real life example that is to teach our scouts, is that adversity is something that we each face, day in and day out,” Andrews said. “And these experiences have truly hammered home the scouting models for being prepared.”

Since the start of the pandemic, local scouts have attained a total of 450 rank achievements. Their district advancement committee also provided virtual Eagle Scout board reviews, which resulted in over 50 scouts achieving Eagle Scout rank. That “equates to 50 service projects that can benefit the local community,” he said.

Today, the district stands with 827 youth within 3 units, which is just shy of total youth membership. He said it is pretty remarkable given the limitations.

“Despite challenges like the pandemic, as mentioned, we just need necessary contributions to the Heart of Virginia Council which will enable these local districts like ours to support volunteers, so we can deliver a safe, positive scouting program to youth in our community,” Hurd said.

For more information about the Heart of Virginia Council and local scouting, visit: https://hovc.org/.

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