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Master of ceremonies was actor Clint Howard, who starred in the 1960s TV series “Gentle Ben” and played the memorable role of Balok in an episode of the original “Star Trek” series.
Video tributes were cast upon the big screen, first from actor Gary Sinise and later by director Ron Howard, the emcee’s brother.
In his monologue, Clint Howard was genuinely sincere when he said he had always wanted to join Boy Scouting as a youth, but his parents thought he already had too much on his plate with Burbank park and recreation sports and his acting career. He told the more than 300 guests that he believes scouting, which helps boys to gain strong values and build solid moral characters, “is more important than ever.”
Touting the theme “Changing the World One Scout at a Time”, the gala kicked off with a silent auction followed by dinner. Then came a surprise announcement of a major donation. Tom Carnahan presented the Verdugo Hills Council with a check for $150,000 from its Carnahan Charitable Remainder Trust. The gift was from Tom’s father, Joe Carnahan, who died six weeks ago, said Bob Black, who co-chaired the auction with his wife Dorothy.
“The donation was a secret until Tom made the announcement,” Bob Black said.
The gift neatly segued into the live auction, where scouts vice president of finance Sunder Ramani led the bidding with some comic relief provided by Clint Howard, who walked between the tables and interacted with guests.
Winning coveted live auction prizes were Robert Rector, who will be spending a day of golf and lunch with Clint Howard at the Wood Ranch Country Club in Simi Valley, and school board member Debbie Kukta, taking home a golden retriever puppy to meet her dog Cody.
All proceeds help the Verdugo Hills Council provide scouting programs for more than 3,000 boys who live in Burbank, Glendale, La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge.
Boy Scouts were in the house, helping spot bids and running prizes to happy winners. Eagle Scout Kevin Beebe directed the flag presentation and Homenetmen Scout Evana Grigorian sang “God Bless America.” The Rev. Wayne Walters gave the invocation.
In the final video tribute of the night, Ron Howard reiterated his brother’s sentiments about Boy Scouting and all they learn on the road to becoming men.
“God bless the Boy Scouts,” he said adding, “I really mean that!”