Gen. Blanck honored by Boy Scouts

By on October 16, 2019

More than 50 years after he earned his Eagle Scout badge, Ephrata native Ronald Blanck was again honored by the Boy Scouts of America.

At a ceremony held at Dewey Beach, Del. on Sept. 18, Blanck, a 1959 graduate of Ephrata High School and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, was presented with the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award by the Del-Mar-Va Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Introduced in 1969 by the National Eagle Scout Association, the award is a gold eagle suspended from a red, white and blue ribbon and worn around the neck. According to the presentation, the award is given to individuals “selected for their outstanding service as evidenced by their leadership to many worthwhile organizations as well as the respect and esteem in which they are held by their colleagues.” To be eligible a person has to have been awarded his initial Eagle Scout rank at least 25 years previous.

The road to this honor began when Blanck and an acquaintance were talking and the topic of Boy Scouts came up.

“I said ‘Yeah, I was an Eagle,’” Blanck recalled during a phone interview. “And to make a long story short, from that, they looked up my record and nominated me for the Distinguished Eagle Scout

Award which was unexpected. Frankly, I’m not sure I’m deserving of it.”

Blanck suspects his being chosen for the award was based, at least partially, “on my military career.”

Gen. Ronald Blanck

“But my involvement with Operation Seas the Day also came into play,” he said.

Since 2013 Operation Seas the Day has given veterans, wounded or otherwise injured while on active duty, along with their families, a free weeklong vacation at Bethany Beach, Del. Blanck sits on the organization’s board.

“There are a lot of programs out there for soldiers, sailors, and Marines, but not so much for families and they bear the brunt of all of this, too,” Blanck said.

The organization is provided with names of worthy veterans and links them up with a host family.

“We provide donated housing, either houses or condo apartments,” Blanck said. “If they have service animals or need a wheelchair, we have houses that meet those needs.”

Almost the entire Bethany Beach community gets involved, Blanck said, offering the wounded warrior and his or her family services at restaurants, rides, golfing, boat rides, fishing and more.

“You name it, we offer it,” Blanck said. “It’s a really, really neat organization.”

Blanck recently received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Del-Mar-Va Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Last month’s presentation ceremony, Blanck said, was “very, very nice” and included friends, family and board members from Operation Seas the Day.

Being honored by the Boy Scouts of America brought back memories to the 78-year-old Eagle Scout.

“It made me think of my days back in Ephrata when I was a scout,” he said.
Blanck earned his Eagle Scout award in 1957 while a member of Troop 75 sponsored by Trinity Lutheran Church. Along with his friend, classmate, and fellow Eagle Scout with Troop 38, Phil

Eisemann, served for a summer on the staff of Camp Chiquetan, a scout camp near Conestoga. The two friends were also members of Explorer Post 375.
Blanck now calls Fenwick Island, Del., home although, he says, “I still get to the Ephrata area periodically. We just had our 60th high school class reunion.”

This photo of Blanch was taken in 1957 at the Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge.

A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Blank entered the Army in 1968 and served as a battalion surgeon in Vietnam. In 1996 he was named as the Army’s 39th Surgeon General and Commander of the Army Medical Command. He also served as Commander at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He retired in 2000.

Today, Blanck is a partner and Chairman of the Board of Martin, Blanck & Associates which does health care consulting for the private sector and the government.
With the honor just bestowed upon him, Blanck hopes to serve “as an example for kids growing up.”

“Kids sometimes have difficulty finding organizations like the Boy Scouts for a variety of reasons, so this is an opportunity,” he said.

Blanck and his wife Donna have two daughters — Jennifer, who is married to Shane Siegel and Susan, who is married to Andrew Van Horn.

Larry Alexander is a correspondent for The Ephrata Review. He can be contacted at larry2851@yahoo.com. 

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