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Feb. 19, 2003
CONTACT: Carol Anderson


YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University sophomore Sam Stocker, 19, of Royal Oak, Mich., was one of eight delegates selected nationwide to represent the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Feb. 8-12 in Washington, D.C. The group presented the “2002 Report to the Nation” to President George W. Bush. The annual report highlights the BSA’s program achievements.

“ This (trip) is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Stocker. “It definitely hit home when I met leaders (of government) and they recognized us and made us feel welcome. I’m very proud to be an American.”

The highlight of his trip, said Stocker, was meeting President Bush and presenting him with the report and a plaque of appreciation. Stocker and his group also met various government officials including Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Donald Rumsfield, secretary of defense; Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state; and George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

“ It was like meeting a guy who was only in history books,” said Stocker of his encounter with Kissinger. “You experience what others only dream about.”

Tenet impressed the group, said Stocker, by pointing to a flag in his office that had flown over the World Trade Center and to a gun once owned by Saddam Hussein that was a gift from King Hussein of Jordan. The group also toured the Supreme Court and played on the justices’ private basketball court. The delegates also visitednumerous monuments and memorials,

The eight-person delegation, in addition to Stocker, included Jesse Loomis, 8, of Ann Arbor, Mich.; John Reese III, 12, of St. Louis, Mo.; Zachary Gomez, 13, of San Angelo, Texas; Jonathan Nagata, 14, of Santa Monica, Calif.; Matthew Knight, 16, Bowling Green, Ky.; Emily Petty, 18, of Springfield, Va.; and Nick Digirolamo, 19, of Oldsmar, Fla. The national BSA office selected the eight final candidates from nominations submitted by local councils.

Delegates were selected for their demonstrated leadership and service to the community. Outstanding delegates and deeds they accomplished during the year included Loomis, who rescued his three-year old neighbor from drowning; Reese, who rescued his brother from a burning house; and Nagata, who administered first aid at the scene of a multi-car accident. Stocker, who will step down as national president this June, was chosen a delegate due to his leadership role as national president of the Boy Scout’s Venturing group and Michigan’s section chief for scouting’s national honor society, The Order of the Arrow. Venturing is a BSA youth development program for 14-to-20 year-old men and women involving youth, adult leaders and organizations in the community.

Stocker, who joined the Cub Scouts nine years ago, said he especially likes camping with his friends. He earned the Ranger Award that identifies one as an elite outdoorsman who is skilled at a variety of outdoor sports and interests, trained in outdoor safety, and ready to lead or assist others in activities.

“ You’ll get out of scouting what you put into it,” said Stocker. “I’ll always have the positive values of scouting with me.”

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