By Dan Russo
DUBUQUE — Andy Draus and Mary Moothart, two people who have contributed greatly to the program for Catholic Boy Scouts in the Archdiocese of Dubuque, were recognized recently with the highest honor for adults that the National Catholic Committee on Scouting bestows.
At a prayer service April 23 at the Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque, Draus and Moothart received the St. George Emblem because of the pair’s many years of dedication to teaching both practical skills and spiritual values to young people.
“I think it’s one of the greatest things I’ve earned in Scouting,” said Andy Draus, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Bellevue, the home of Troop 86.
The prayer service, led by Msgr. Lyle Wilgenbusch, was attended by active Boy Scouts, their families and many previous recipients of the award from the local area. Moothart was also happy to be recognized for her work. In an interview after the ceremony, she emphasized the importance of the religious emblems Scouts can earn and the other faith-filled activities that are part of the program.
“(Scouting) is not just about camping and other skills,” she said. “I think it’s so important for us to bring the faith dimension to Scouting.”
During his remarks at the prayer service, Msgr. Wilgenbush, a longtime friend and chaplain for the Scouts, called Scouting “food for the soul,” whose core principles fit like a “glove” with the Christian faith.
Draus and Moothart have promoted these positive values and have had a significant impact on countless youth. Curtis DeWulf, Northeast Iowa Catholic Committee on Scouting chair, presented the award to the two recipients.
“The St. George Emblem is presented on behalf of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting to adults in an archdiocese who have given outstanding service to the development of youth in the Catholic Scouting program,” explained DeWulf. “Each local diocese has a nomination committee and reviews adults for nomination and selects those that have given service above and beyond ordinary levels.”
The emblem is named after St. George, a third-century Christian Roman solider, who was eventually martyred for his faith after the Emperor Diocletian began one of the harshest persecutions of Christians in the empire’s history. Since then, the saint has been a powerful intercessor for many over the centuries and is the patron saint of the Catholic Scouting program.
DeWulf recounted some of the contributions both award recipients have made when presenting the emblems.
Draus began Scouting in his youth and earned his Eagle rank. He came back to the organization as an adult when his son began Scouting. He has served on the Scouting committee and as Scout master. He has been involved in organizing many major events for Scouts.
“At these events he feels it important to encourage all Scouts to practice their faith and has helped with Scouts going to Mass and organizing Scout Sunday activities,” DeWulf said. “He believes in action, and while he is quiet, he has a way to get youth and adults to develop their faith.”
Moothart began her Scouting career as den leader and spouse of the cubmaster and scoutmaster for Pack and Troop 91. Tim Moothart, her husband, is also a St. George Emblem recipient. She has served as the religious emblems counselor and advancement chairperson for her troop. Over the years, she helped many Scouts fulfill their duty to God and to embody the Boy Scouting ideal that a “Scout is reverent.”
“While Mrs. Moothart is a team player, she has done many things on her own, realizing that everyone has their own time, talents and treasure to give,” said DeWulf. “This was especially true in the early years of the time her husband served as scoutmaster; numbers were small and the pack did not have the resources available. Together, they built the program up over time, and they still help out and encourage others to participate in the program …”
The first St. George Emblems were awarded by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting in 1955. A total of 169 adults from the Archdiocese of Dubuque have been recognized, according to DeWulf.
Cover photo: Mary Moothart of Dubuque and Andy Draus of Bellevue are shown with their awards after receiving the St. George Emblem at a prayer service at the Church of the Resurrection in Dubuque April 23. (Photo by Sarah Brimeyer)