Dabney Kennedy has spent six decades committed to Scouting and its ideals and this year the Order of the Arrow presented him with the third-ever Legacy of Servant Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award. Over his impressive career as an adult in the Order, Kennedy spent 22 years as a Section Adviser, 20 years as a Lodge Adviser, and 36 years on the National OA Committee in numerous capacities. In addition, he served the Order as the Program Chairman for over ten National Conferences where he was responsible for most of the coordination of NOAC. Kennedy is currently a member of the Founder’s Advisory Council of the National OA Committee.
He was involved in Scouting and the Order as a youth, serving as lodge secretary, two terms as lodge chief, and at the age of 18 he was appointed to be the junior lodge adviser for his lodge. He is an Eagle Scout with palms and a recipient of the Silver Explorer Award, Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and OA Distinguished Service Award. Since 1958, Kennedy has participated in and played an instrumental part in the production of over 30 national events for the Order.
These accomplishments however, while impressive in and of themselves, cannot begin to describe the positive influence and mark he has left on the Order. Kennedy was inducted into the very small Otena lodge in 1950. The lodge was so young that there were no Brotherhood members in it at that point. In 1952, Kennedy became Otena’s first Brotherhood member and was bestowed this honor by Karankwa Lodge. In 1954 he became the lodge’s first Vigil Honor member and received the name “Akikta” which is interpreted as “one who works with determination.” At a time when lodges only had lodge patches, Kennedy was one of the first people to design a lodge flap for his lodge. Kennedy also made an impact on the Order as a whole by designing and creating the Founder’s Award. As a visionary of his time, he realized the need to have a National Event every summer and the importance of electing new national youth officers for one-year terms instead of two-year terms.
In 1964 Kennedy graduated from the University of Texas, School of Pharmacy and had a very successful career as a pharmacist. Most notably, he spent 30 years working for the Dow Chemical Company as a Regional Sales Manager, National Sales Trainer, and National Safety Manager. He married his wife Peggy Jean in 1960 and has two sons that are both Eagle Scouts and Brotherhood members of the Order of the Arrow.
When asked about his strong and continued magnetic passion for the Order of the Arrow he responded that the most rewarding part of continued service was being able to watch young boys grow and develop into strong, mature leaders through the Order. He went on to say that NOAC is so important and unique because the standard is set by the youth volunteers. NOAC allows young leaders to breath new life and ideas into the Order and gives them a chance to nurture their strengths as young men and the leaders of tomorrow.
Dabney Kennedy is truly an inspirational leader and the Order of the Arrow is fortunate to have such a devoted volunteer who seeks, and challenges others to seek, the higher vision.