BAXTER SPRINGS - Moral character development; citizenship training; and development of physical, mental, and emotional fitness. These are "aims of scouting" that over 2.4 million young men in Boys Scouts of America groups across the country strive to accomplish. One local scout, Tony Hodge, exemplified these ideals so exceptionally that he was named the 2017 Boy Scout of the Year, by Baxter Springs American Legion Post 206. The American Legion honored Tony during their December meeting.

Tony belongs to Boy Scout Troop 15, at the First Christian Church in Baxter Springs. He is a First Class Scout, and has been involved in the Scouts for one-and-a-half years. In that time Tony has moved up the ranks quickly, from Tenderfoot, to 2nd Class, and now 1st Class Scout.

"American Legion Post 206 is proud to have this young man as Boy Scout of the year," said Wayne Cook.

One of the behaviors that made Tony stand out and aided in his receiving the award, is that he always helps instruct the younger boys. Perhaps it's an ingrained knack, as he has two younger brothers also in Scouts.

The Scoutmaster is Mark Vavra, taking over from long time leader Charley Button (who served for more than 50 years), and is helped by Tony’s Dad, Oren Brittle, and others.