Kevin V. Hunt
Scouting Historian, Author and Speaker, Scouting Veteran, Camp Director
Yes, Dr. Rodney H. Brady was a Scouter who rode the high places. He soared up there with Eagles but was not content to soar up there alone. He spent his life working to inspire all of us to be our best, to set goals and then to go for it like an Eagle. Dr. Brady departed this life on January 9th in Salt Lake City, Utah at age 83. With his passing, he now can soar even higher but the Boy Scouts of America lost one of its most ardent supporters. He proved throughout his life that he loved Scouting and was totally committed to it. In today’s’ buzzword, he was truly “all in” – total immersion. He was an Eagle Scout, a recipient of the Silver Beaver, Antelope and Buffalo awards and also was recognized as a Distinguished Eagle Scout. All very impressive!
It was a January morning – just yesterday – and I was riveted as I read the name of Rodney H. Brady while reading the Salt Lake City obituaries as I do each morning – even though I live in Arizona. Rodney H. Brady … Wow! And then the memories began to flow into my mind. What a great man. Talk about the eternal optimist … Rod Brady was that guy. I had a busy day and week ahead of me but suddenly my priorities changed. I now had a mission to blog about this great Scouter. And that idea alone brought back sweet memories about Dr. Brady. He was everything about lists and priorities. He learned young to set goals and he was a champion at writing them down and then going forward to accomplish them.
Dr. Brady served at every level in Scouting – at the unit, the district and council, the region and even at the National BSA – serving everywhere on committees and executive boards – usually in multiple positions and functions simultaneously. for many years he was a member of the Executive Board for the Lake Bonneville Council. And he also served in the community in a variety of positions. And in most of those positions, he was listed as “President” or “Director”. There it is again – always riding the high places.
For many years Rod served as the President of the Deseret Management Company – a company responsible for many of the commercial holdings of the worldwide LDS Church. In 2002, he was inducted into the David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame at the University of Utah. On that occasion, Rodney Brady was honored by President Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who said of him: “I very seriously doubt that there is anyone else in this city or state who has served on so many boards, committees and councils, all designed to serve the public good,” President Hinckley continued saying that “[his] high school list of goals “became more than a wish list; for him it became a mandate; that mandate has been followed.” Everyone who knew Rodney Brady can attest to that.
Rod Brady became the president of Weber State College (Now Weber State University) in Ogden, Utah in 1978 and so served until 1985. And at the same time, I was serving as a Sr. District Executive for the Mt. Ogden District of then Lake Bonneville Boy Scout Council in Ogden. He was appointed President at Weber State in 1978 and was there until 1985 so our time in Ogden was pretty much concurrent. His Weber State College – and his personal residence – were both within my Scouting district so I soon became acquainted with him and I loved him. He was truly fabulous. There are not enough adjectives to describe him and his energetic – almost over-zealous love of life. He was truly a mover and a shaker.
It was Rodney Brady who first introduced me to the short movie or video “Ride the High Places” – which is all about Eagles and their soaring prowess in pursuit of their goals. He gave me a copy and I have often used it in Scout court of honors and other presentations. (I don’t know the history of the movie but it would not surprise me if Dr. Brady didn’t somehow motivate its production!)
Always wanting to showcase Scouting, Dr. Brady established a plan to have our Scouts and troops present flag ceremonies at home college basketball games. Our district frequently got to send one of our troops to do the honors. On one occasion he invited all Scouts of our council to be the half-time show for a home football game at the college. He was very excited about this. There were a multitude of Scouting groups who participated and they were all out on the field at once – in full Scout uniform and staging a major show of Scouting skills. My own Camp Bartlett Camp Staff (of which I was the Director) had center stage – right on the 50-yard line. We set up a 20-foot pole with guy-ropes – and this became a giant spindle for a fire-making bow-drill. We had staffers on each side pulling ropes – like a tug-a-war. And we made a fire right there on the football field. President Brady loved it and the rest of that grand show!
As Scouting professionals we met monthly in our major planning and organizational meetings. These meetings included all of the Scouting professionals in the council. Our scout executive delegated these meetings out to all staff and gave us the charge to find a prominent place in the community to hold the meeting – in an effort to learn of those people and organizations who were leaders in the community. As my turn was approaching, I visited with President Brady. He embraced the ideal whole-heartedly and when the day came, he turned his Presidential Office and Executive board room over to me for the meeting. And he came at my invitation to talk to our group. As ever, he shared his lists and personal motivation to excel and to ride the high places.
President Brady shared freely with us the resources of Weber State College. At his invitation, we held some annual Recognition Dinners at the college. I remember an occasion when he became our keynote speaker. He talked enthusiastically and challenged all of us to do and become. And as per his usual style, he distributed sheets with his motivational lists – sometimes multiple lists at a given event.
While I was the Mt. Ogden district executive, my District Chairman was Richard Moyle (or “Dick”, as I called him). He was one of the greatest of geology professors at Weber State College and he worked under the direction of President Brady. He always had good things to say about Dr. Brady as College President.
The stories could go on and on, but yes, Dr. Rodney H. Brady was one of the greatest men of Scouting. Thanks, Rodney, for urging us all to ride those high places with you! You gave us wings and helped us fly like Eagles!
Best wishes along your Scouting Trails … Kevin
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Blogging articles have excerpts taken from Kevin’s many personal journals and Scouting Trails books including “MR. Scoutmaster!”, “Keys to Scouting Leadership,” “Gnubie to Eagle Scout”, and others at his Scoutingtrails website. Connect with Kevin and read his articles on Scouting blogsites such as The Boy Scout, The Scouting Trail and the Voice of Scouting. Feel free to comment on anything you read! Find Kevin on Facebook at: Scouting Trails Books and Blogs.
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