2017 Distinguished Alumni Honoree
George William “Bill” Shaffer ’63
George William “Bill” Shaffer graduated from Oklahoma Military High School in 1963 and Junior College in 1965, attending all six years on the Hill. While on the Hill, Bill was on the President’s and Deans Honor Roll and named to the Oklahoma Honor Society, the Honor Court and Judges Bench. He served as President of the Freshman Class, Vice President of the Senior Class, Secretary of the Chevron Society, Secretary of the Saber Society, and served on the Vedette Staff. He earned the Cadet Identification Disc, the Military Proficiency Ribbon and the Merit Ribbon. He was a member of the marching band and later joined the drill team. Bill was named the Outstanding Tulsa Cadet in 1963. Bill was on the high school football and track teams and qualified for state as part of the mile relay team. Bill attended ROTC summer camp at Ft. Sill, and he graduated from OMA as a Cadet Major.
Bill worked for many years in direct care at Shadow Mountain Psychiatric Hospital until retiring in 2016. He is currently Manager of Sales and Marketing for Logos Staffing International in Tulsa.
Bill had been a member of Boy Scout Troop 26 sponsored by the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Tulsa before enrolling at OMA. After graduating from OMA and while attending the University of Tulsa, the troop came calling again and asked if Bill would consider becoming Scoutmaster of Troop 26 “for a couple of years.” That was in 1968. He agreed and became Scoutmaster in January of 1969 and remains in that position today, 46 years later. When Bill took over Troop 26, there were only eleven or twelve boys and no adult leaders. Today, Troop 26 has a yearly membership of nearly 200 boys each year and an adult staff of 50 trained leaders.
The troop has become the largest and one of the most successful troops in state history, generating more than 700 Eagle Scouts. Bill patterned many of the things he established in his Scout troop after things he had learned at OMA. He built a youth leadership program derived from his experiences in the Saber Society and Chevron Society. Discipline problems in the troop are handled by the boys themselves as elected members of the Troop 26 Honor Court. At OMA he learned firsthand that pride, uniforming and tradition are key ingredients to success, and he has modeled those traits to thousands of Tulsa scouts.
Bill planned encounters for his scouts with three American presidents (Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr.) President Ford actually came to a troop meeting to present Eagle Scout Awards to 13 troop members. Bill authored and published two books, each a compilation of letters to scouts from some of America’s heroes from all walks of life, including Medal of Honor recipients, presidents, senators, congressmen, astronauts, admirals and generals, professional athletes and entertainment celebrities. “In The Words Of…” and “From The Hearts Of Heroes” each containing letters addressed to the scouts. They included letters from Jimmy Doolittle, Mamie Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Billy Graham, Jimmy Stewart, Gregory Peck, and the witch from the Wizard of Oz, Margaret Hamilton. A third book, “Voices From the Mountain” is currently in progress and will include a letter from OMA graduate General Edwin Ramsey.
Bill has been recognized locally, regionally and nationally with numerous awards, such as the Silver Beaver, the Silver Antelope and the Outstanding Scoutmaster Award from the National Eagle Scout Association. He was included in a National Task Force of Scoutmasters to review the draft of the 10th edition of the Boy Scout Handbook. Bill organized and sponsored an annual Oklahoma Special Camporee for 35 years, providing a special camping opportunity for mentally and physically challenged individuals, an event that was honored by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Bill’s troop was recognized as the Special Olympic National Organization of the Year in 1980, alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Royals.
Bill has led his troop to summer camping adventures in Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Alaska and Hawaii, has attended 10 BSA National Jamborees, 10 High Adventure expeditions to Philmont Scout Ranch, a canoe expedition at Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base in Canada, and monthly campouts every month for 46 years. Someone added this up to be a total of four years of sleeping in a tent.
Bill’s Eagle Scouts are now taking their places in the business and professional communities all across the country that include doctors, lawyers, coaches, teachers, business leaders, law enforcement and the military. One of Bill’s Eagle Scouts was recently promoted to Brigadier General in the USAF. Bill’s impact on his community has been exceptional.
A life of service to his community that had its beginning “on the Hill.”