"In Grateful Appreciation" (Warning: Long post)
Mike Walton ("settummanque,)
Sun, 26 Oct 1997 23:12:22 -0600
October 25/26 was National Make-A-Difference Day. Here's a person that
definately made a difference way before this day "caught on". Please note
when I originally wrote this:
(From "Patches and Pins" (or "The Quest for the Silver Beaver...."),
by Mike Walton (c) 1988)
"In Grateful Appreciation"
Paula Ward gave me a lot of things. Headaches mostly. A smile on my
face. Sore shoulderblades from her constantly twisting my arm to do
things for others, even when I really didn't want to do them.
She gave me a sense of service that was uncompromising than any other
person I have ever met. She would go out of her way to be of help to
someone, even when they later displayed the middle finger to her face.
She didn't care. She was "in it" for the "idea" of being of service to
anyone...she was a strong believer -- much stronger than me at the time--
in the Scout Oath and specifically "...to help other people at all times".
She would make a great Order of the Arrowman if they allowed women to
become Arrowmen. A 26-year old female Arrowman.
Paula -- Paulie or "Butterscotch" (for her favorite candies)-- returned to
Eastern Kentucky in the fall of my Junior year of education. I met her
after returning from the library on a Friday night after the building
closed. She was sad, she was confused, she was happy for the company. We
sat -- on the steps leading from the twin towers to "nowheresville" and
William Keene Hall, the only residence hall on the west side of the campus
-- just about all night long.
Paula worked for five years at her donut store, in San Antonio, Texas. She
was streetwise and very intelliegent. She was also lonesome for her native
Pike County, her brothers, and Kentucky. After thinking about it, she
gathered all of her belongings, left the "Grand state of Texas, long may she
live!", and headed back to Kentucky and to school to learn "how to become a
When she left for Texas, she told me, she was 6 foot even, and 180 pounds.
When she returned back to Kentucky, she was two inches taller and close to a
hundred pounds heavier. That did not stop her from gaining admission to
EKU, for starting her program in English composition, and for making her
personal dream of becoming a writer a reality. It did put a cold stop,
however, to her father and brothers' willingness to accept the "new Paula":
chain-smoking, loud-mouthed, and with a new attitude of "I say what I
feel..." Her fellow students saw this large, tall Texan as a "woman with a
whole LOT of attitude" and Paula had NO INTEREST in poetry or prose, but she
learned to embrace both and more. She needed a friend, doubted her
reasoning, and found me.
We became partners in many ways. She saw Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, but
have never been one herself. I told her of the difficulties I was having
with getting a campus Scouting group started. "Teach me everything about
Scouts, Mike. Give me every book and magazine and flyer you've got about
it." Date talk, I thought. She wants to know about me so that she can
spend time talking with me without making herself look stupid.
I honored her request. I wasn't ready for the next one. "I don't want to
see you for a week. I mean it. Don't call me. Don't come by my dorm. Let
me read through, understand and do my own research....you come by next
Thursday for open house and we'll go out and talk then."
No other girl has ever told me "go away" up to that point. As I walked
away, I was thinking about what in the world did I do to cause this failure.
I was soon to find out, it was not a failure at all.
Paula's way of studying is "headfirst". No TV. No radio. She actually
READS every single page and if it leads her to something else, she would
seek it out. In this case, two days later, I received a phone message from
her relayed by my roommate, Tim. "She said that she wants these books....
she gave numbers and was rattling them off to me so fast...just call her
"She said that she didn't want me to call her." I looked at the list that
Tim half-heartely made. BSA catalog numbers. Commissioner pamphlets. A
A flyer from the Exploring Division. Some other stuff I recognized and a
couple more I'd never seen before. I gathered up what I could, and walked
across campus to her dorm. Summoning her upstairs, she arrived in a robe
which could easily fit me twice over. "Thanks, honey. Oh, and by the way,
your boss in Scouts....Ross...he's a charmer." I handed over the materials
before it sunk in.
"You've called my boss!", I yelled at her. Ross McGill was the Council
Scout Executive of the Bluegrass Council.
"I did, and he's sending me materials. You wanted this College Scouter
Exploring thing to work, right? Well, I've got to know how Exploring work
before I can start working on getting the College Scouter part to work!
Later love!" She kissed me on the cheek, rasing quite a few eyebrows as she
did it, and went back downstairs to "the dungeon", she called her room in
the basement of the residence hall. "Thursday!"
Confused? You bet!
One week later, we had the charter for the nation's first College Scouter
Explorer Post. She framed it. Two weeks later, we registered 41 Explorers
and 19 adults.
One month later, Explorer Post 379 (College Scouting Service) was featured
in "Professionally Speaking", a magazine for those working fulltime within
Scouting. Paula was mailed a copy and kept it.
"Service" should have been Paula's middle name. "When I ran the donut shop,
we would always get requests for free donuts. Not only would I give them
sheets of free donuts to sell, I would help them sell them. I got a lot of
great customers...and that's why I don't have to worry about money now!" She
was always relating what she did with the Post or with other groups with
what she did at "the donut shop".
She insisted that twice a semester, that the members of the Bluegrass
Scouting Alliance Club (the "campus name" of the Explorer Post) would go out
and work specifically with *other non-Scouting groups*. Paula would be
there...the tallest person there, the one sneaking a drag from a cigarette
during breaks, the one with such an open personality that many of the
leaders wanted *her* to come back by herself!
She loved children, she loved being "out there" and she loved Scouting.
Never had a *clue* as to what Scouting was about...she "read about it in a
bunch of books"... but never imagined how much fun it really was to "doing
that stuff...why don't others get involved like this?" She used Cub
Scouting books to arrange stunts and "busy stuff" for kids to play and do
while their parents were in a separate room deciding on how to start a
campus daycare program. Someone asked her what her major was and was
surprised when she did not say "elementary education" or "home economics".
"You're so *good* with children! You'll make a wonderful mother!"
Paula Ward was also known around EKU's campus as that *one person* that can
truly "get whatever she wanted and made you smile about it as you were
handing it to her." Other campus organizations wanted her leadership and
direction and *smarts* as well. She didn't want those *other groups*. She
found a home, and it was with others that wanted to give of themselves to
others whenever they can. Those "Overgrown Boy and Girl Scouts".
Paulie and I later broke up socially, but we continued to work together for
a wide range of youth programs. "I may not be going with you, Mike Walton,"
she would tell me, "but I know your heart. And I know that you'll work with
me on this, won't you??" With her over-bearing, charming and at times
abrasive personality, nobody stood a chance of saying "Sorry, perhaps some
other time". Some people thought that if they said "no", she would slug 'em!
I never said "no". Besides, she was fun to work with!
One of my last acts as a Student Senator was to formally ask for the consent
of the Senate to co-sponser an annual service award called the Silver
Scouter Award. While the BGSA would administer it, the award would become
-- and still is -- a campus-wide student and faculty youth service award.
Paula Ward was the first student to receive a Silver Scouter. I sat down
and over a weekend of re-writes, wrote the first citation for Ms. Paula Ward:
"In Grateful Appreciation to Paula "Butterscotch" Ward, student leader, poet,
campus activist, for her willingness to help other people in various ways
and means between August 1979 and May 1981. As President of the Bluegrass
Scouting Alliance Club, Paula established new standards for campus Scouting
organizations which will never be matched. As Chair of the campus-wide 1980
United Way drive, her leadership and personal example assisted the University
in raising one of its all-time amounts. A single person, Paula was
in the establishment of a day-care exchange and a Brockton Families
Association group for student families. A good student with a heart of pure
gold, lined in fine silk."
Paula's favorite line was "I got it from the University of Hard Knocks". I
thought she was talking about her rough life living in San Antonio or before
that in Pike County. What she was referring to was an *actual book* called
"The University of Hard Knocks" by Ralph Parlette. She starred (she loved
to "star" things to call my attention to them as I would read) the following:
"Everybody's privilege and duty is to become great. And the joy of it
is that the first step is always nearest at hand."
"Our greatness therefore does not depend upon how much we give or upon
what we do, whether peeling potatoes or ruling a nation, but upon the
percentage of our output to our resources. Upon doing with our might
what our hands find to do. Quit worrying about what you cannot get to
do. Rejoice in doing the things you can get to do. And as you are
faithful over a few things you go up to be ruler over many.
The world says some of us have golden gifts and some have copper gifts.
But when we cast them all into the treasury of right service, there is
an alchemy that transmutes every gift into gold. Every work is drudgery
when done selfishly. Every work becomes golden when done in a golden
"We have to look farther than the "Who's Who" and Dun and Bradstreet
to make a roster of the great people of a community. You will find the
community heart in that precious handful who believe that the service
of God is the service of man "
Like I said, "Butterscotch" gave me a lot...to remember, to think about and to
act upon. Mostly, it was her concept of "service" that I try to live up to
which I try to get others to likewise live upwards to as well.
(no signature due to long post)
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