Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Council of the Twelve has been awarded Scouting's prestigious "Distinguished Eagle" award for his "truly distinguished career."
The award was presented Dec. 14 by President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency, at a ceremony in the Church Administration Building.Elder Ashton said the award was particularly meaningful because earning an Eagle has become a family tradition. "We have two sons, and they both earned the Eagle," he said. "And we have four grandsons who are old enough, and they all have earned the award.
"I had to earn an Eagle to receive this award, and I was glad that I was able to achieve that." He observed that, nationally, only 2 percent of the Scouts ever earn their Eagle rank.
Elder Ashton joins President Howard W. Hunter as the second member of the Council of the Twelve to receive the Distinguished Eagle. President Hunter received the award in 1978.
Elder Ashton was selected to receive the award "because as an Eagle Scout, he has continued to serve his God, country and fellowmen, following the principles of the Scout Oath and Law."
"The significance of this award is that he first had to do the work to achieve the rank of Eagle," said President Monson. "He is a proper candidate for the distinguished Eagle."
He said that Elder Ashton has "the special ability to boost Scouting and lift the Aaronic Priesthood at the same time. They really must be lifted together.
"We want a Scout who is proud to be a deacon, and a Varsity Scout who is proud to be a teacher, and an Explorer Scout who is proud to be a priest.
"Congratulations for all you do for the Lord and young people everywhere," he concluded. "I'm proud of you."
The award noted that Elder Ashton has served as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, as a Utah State Senator, and on various local and national committees to help troubled youth. He also has spearheaded legislation for improved juvenile detention facilities and is "a tireless crusader in establishing programs for foster children, prisoners, adoption, Indian Student placement, and other welfare projects."
The citation also noted Elder Ashton's lifetime of service to the Church on the Young Men general board, the general MIA presidency, as an Assistant to the Twelve, and as a member of the Council of the Twelve.
Elder Ashton has received the Silver Beaver and Silver Antelope awards, and is on the National Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.