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Grand marshal on a mission

Don Serry wears his scouting shirt that carries more than 50 years of acheivments. He earned his Eagle Scout Award in 1941 and has been a registered adult scout leader for 40 years. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
Don Serry wears his scouting shirt that carries more than 50 years of acheivments. He earned his Eagle Scout Award in 1941 and has been a registered adult scout leader for 40 years.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

When it comes to community involvement not many people can outshine Donald Serry of Bremerton.

From his more than 50 years in the Boy Scouts to serving as the first president of the Visitors and Convention Bureau, he has a long history with and a love for history.

Saturday, the 80-year-old will serve as the Grand Marshal of the Silverdale Dandy Lions Whaling Days Grand Parade. The parade is set to start at 10 a.m.

He said he was surprised at the announcement but looks forward to leading the parade. Four years ago he and his wife Shirley were grand marshals for the Bremerton Armed Forces Parade. She won’t be joining him on his jaunt down Silverdale Way because of health problems.

Serry’s community involvement began in 1935 when at 12 he joined the Boy Scouts Troop 512 of which he is still a member. His parents lived off Hartford Avenue and Coontz Street, one block from the Scout Hall. Monday nights he’d walk up to the Scout Hall and nine years later earned his Eagle Scout rank.

“It is the organization that works with young boys and makes them into better men,” Serry said of Boy Scouts.

Serry was set to go before the Eagle board of review the first Tuesday in December 1941.

“The war got in the way,” he said. Serry received his Eagle Scout rank in January 1942. The skills he learned in scouting have been those that “all have to do with life experience that are supportive of manhood and fatherhood,” he said.

He said over the 40 years as an adult scout he has seen a lot of young men become upstanding citizens in the community due to scouting.

Serry, who has had four heart operations and both knees replaced, is not as active as he used to be, but he stays involved. He combined his penchant for history (one of the few classes he got an “A” in during high school he jokes) and scouting when he co-authored the book “The History of Scouting in Kitsap County.”

Serry served two years in the Navy as an electrician’s mate and retired from the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard with more than 38 years of government service.

Serry’s scouting uniform and Navy uniform are part of the Kitsap County Historical Society’s collection. He has served as the society’s president five terms, been director for 15 years and currently serves on the board.

He has been a member of the Kitsap County Dahlia Society for 50 years, volunteered for United Way and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees to name a few.

Serry said he has been involved with so many groups because of “payback.”

“Growing up in this community, I got so much,” he said.

“The community was really good to me. I do what I can to make it a better place if I can,” Serry said.

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