Del-Mar-Va Council honoree Vincent: It’s all about the scouts

BRIDGEVILLE – Scouts honor!

Current Sussex County Council president and longtime public servant Michael H. Vincent joined an elite club Thursday night as the 2017 recipient of the Del-Mar-Va Council/Boy Scouts of America’s Distinguished Citizen Award.

Family, friends, colleagues – and Boy Scouts from Troop 281 in Ocean View and Eagle Scout Jared Alpert of Laurel – attended the Nov. 2 award dinner at Heritage Shores.

The annual event doubles as a fundraiser in support of the Del-Mar-Va Council’s scouting program.

“Tonight, I am proud to share with you that through this event honoring Mike Vincent – a good friend of mine; our county council president – that more than $26,000 has been raised in your name, sir, for this Del-Mar-Va Council,” said event chairman John Brady, an Eagle Scout and longtime supporter of scouting. “Thank you very much.”

“Wow. It is seriously a great humbling experience to be honored,” said Mr. Vincent. “This is to me all about the Boy Scouts and all that they do. In all honesty I was never a scout. Growing up I was outside every day playing three things; football, baseball and basketball. I have great respect for scouts and scout leaders.”

“I certainly appreciate the honor. There are a lot of people in this room that deserve it as well as I do, probably more,” said Mr. Vincent. “But it’s all about the scouts.”

Mr. Vincent was elected to county council in 2008. He currently serves as council president, a position he has held for a number of years, after previously serving as council’s vice president.

A native of Seaford, Mr. Vincent served on Seaford city council before migrating to county government.

Fire service has long been in his blood as well as his employment. He is a past chief, past president and lifetime member of Seaford Volunteer Fire Department and one-time president of the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Mr. Vincent, 72, owns a small business, Vincent Fire Equipment, which supplies volunteer fire companies throughout Delaware.

He was accompanied by wife Elaine and other family. Mr. and Ms. Vincent have a grown daughter and three grandchildren.

Longtime friend/fire service comrade Ron Marvel called Mr. Vincent a “good servant” to the city of Seaford and the guy “that you could always go to” knowing he would do what was right and for the good of community. “That is his career,” said Mr. Marvel.

State Rep. Danny Short, who represents Seaford, told the audience that Mike Vincent “not only has served as a firefighter and a fire chief but he taught for many years many of the folks in this state how to actually serve our state and put fires out. I can probably speak for many of my colleagues that sit here that have been in the fire service for years, some us wouldn’t’ be where we are today without your leadership.”

“I will tell you right today … you wouldn’t have the 9-1-1 system that started off as it did and flourishes today; Mike Vincent helped start that service in the state of Delaware. He helped start the paramedic service in this state and he has asked nothing in return,” said Rep. Short, who presented Mr. Vincent with a tribute from the Delaware House of Representatives.

“He is just a great servant for the state of Delaware and Sussex County,” added State Rep. Dave Wilson.

Preston Schell, who with brother Chris Schell and father Joe Schell were Del-Mar-Va Council’s 2016 honorees, presented the award.

“Mike is thought of as a considerate, thoughtful and stable councilman. He doesn’t say a lot but when he speaks it is something you had better listen to. He is humble. Mike is the kind of public servant who would love to do right by is constituents,” said Preston Schell.

Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson, unable to attend the award dinner due to another county-related commitment, extended congratulations and well wishes via a video clip.

“Besides your wife Mike I can think of no one that you have spent more time with in the last six years than myself. So, I am in a pretty good position to say that I believe you are very well-suited to be recognized,” said Mr. Lawson. “You make your decisions based on what’s right. And in all the years of service, whether it was the 40 years in the fire service or elected as a city councilman or now county council president, that is your guidance. You always do what is right.”

“To me it is all about one thing: what you give back,” Mr. Vincent. “It doesn’t matter how much money you make, how rich you are, what fancy car you drive or how big your house is. At the end of the day we are going to be judged on one thing; what you have given back. I try to do that.”

Since 2012, the Del-Mar-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America has annually recognized a person or persons who use character traits taught in scouting to make the community a better place.

Past honorees: the Schell family in 2016, Thomas Brown (2015), Dale Dukes (2014), Ellen and Gregory Bahitiarin (2013) and Joe Hudson (2012).

Steve Rose, CEO of Nanticoke Health Services, served as emcee for the festivities.

The Schell Families were Life Scout sponsors for the event. Table sponsors included Becker Morgan Group, Delaware Electric Cooperative, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, Nemours A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, Sussex County Government, Trinity Logistics and Michael Vincent.

Beebe Healthcare, Community Bank Delaware, Maria Heyssel, Highway One Companies and Melvin Joseph Construction Company were Patron sponsors.

“Because of your help over the last many, many years and now, we’re doing a great job,” said Bill Garrett, Scout Executive/CEO of the Del-Var-Va Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “About 12,500 young men and woman are in our program. We have had membership growth in scouting for six consecutive years. In scouting that is almost unheard of. I think we are one of six out of 264 Boy Scout councils that have done that. We have done that because of your support. We are very proud of that.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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