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The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is  NESA's highest honor. It is the most prestigious Eagle Scout related award, having only been awarded to just over 2,000 since it was established in 1969. It is awarded to an Eagle Scout who has achieved extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or eminence within their profession and/or service to the nation and has a strong record of voluntary service to their community. Stringent criteria begin with a minimum of 25 years “Time in Service” from the official record date an Eagle rank was earned.  That requirement was determined by the average time most nominees need to establish a career, earn peer recognition, awards, fame/eminence, and other factors that are considered for DESA selection.   

This award is presented on a National level, not at a local Council or NESA Chapter level, however, nominations for the DESA Award can be made at the local level. A committee comprised of Distinguished Eagle Scouts carefully reviews all nominations and determines selections. When time permits, the committee may provide feedback on nominations that may receive further, future consideration.

Laurel Highlands Council DESA Award:

Ronald N. Herring, Jr. – 2024

Rory Cooper – 2023

Robert Daniel – 2017

Michael Surbaugh – 2017

Thomas Moore – 2015

George Cahill – 2015

Bernard Queneau – 2014

Robert Mazzuca – 2009

Livingstone Johnson – 2003

Mitchell Paige – 2003

William Ward – 2002

L. Robert Kimball – 2002

Ronald Nelson – 2001

Douglas (Doug) Schwab – 2000

John McGuire – 1999

William Dietrich – 1999

Bennie Ussery – 1995

Leo MacCourtney – 1980

Robert Kirby – 1976

Learn more: Distinguished Eagle Scout Award - The National Eagle Scout Association (

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