By Chris Muldrow / Fredericksburg Today
Bill Micks was the first person I “met” before I moved from South Carolina to Fredericksburg back in 1997.
Well, I actually didn’t meet him. I had sent in an application to work at The Free Lance-Star, and I was a kayaker, so I got a book about the rivers of Virginia to see if there was anywhere I could paddle if I ended up getting the job. There was a black and white picture of Bill, surfing a wave on the Rappahannock in a big canoe. He was, to me, the face of the river that would end up running through the place I’ve made my home.
Bill’s one of the founders of nonprofit Friends of the Rappahannock and of his river guiding business, Virginia Outdoor Center. And he’s the face of the river for a lot more people than just me.
Once I got to town and started getting involved, I actually got meet Bill. I began to understand that there was a lot more to him than just a guy in a canoe.
Bill’s FOR legacy has created a river conservation organization that is a model across the country. But the amount of support he has given to the Boy Scouts over the years has almost eclipsed what he’s done to protect the Rappahannock.
Bill has guided and supported countless opportunities for Boy Scouts to learn how to canoe or kayak and how to camp. And under his guidance, thousands of hours of service projects have been done up and down the river. Many, many Eagle Scouts in our region owe their projects’ success to Bill.
I’ve also learned over the years (I’m on the FOR board now) that Bill extends his support for the youth of our region through Virginia Outdoor Center. Lots of young men and women have learned the first lessons of work and doing a good job working with Bill, his wife Denise and his partners at VOC.
The Boy Scouts in our area honored Bill with their Good Scouter Award this week to recognize all he’s done. I got to sit next to him, and we almost had to have the Scouts drag him up to the podium because he’s so humble about his own work. It was an honor to be in his presence.
If you’re a Scout leader for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or any other youth group, we want to let our readers know about your kids’ achievements. Email your Court of Honor lists to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send a Word or text file with Scout names and a list of rank advancements, merit badges or other awards and we’ll try to publish them for free on Fredericksburg Today. – Chris