GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Texas businessman Steve Bechtel knows about quality investments, having made many while amassing his fortune.
He was on hand in West Virginia for this week’s Boy Scout conference to see the dividends of his latest gesture of philanthropy, one that bares his name—the Summit Bechtel Family High Adventure Reserve.
“I’ve always had a great appreciation for what the scouts did,” Bechtel said. “I finally made Eagle.”
Bechtel became an Eagle Scout in 1940 and served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was approached by the Boy Scouts as they looked for a permanent high adventure base camp in the east three years ago. The Jamboree was held for years at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. However, the property was limited because it didn’t belong to the organization.
“A very distinguished group of people, some of whom I knew or knew of, came to talk to me about starting a campaign to raise some funds and asked me what I thought about it,” Bechtel said. “I think it was just a few days later I went back and gave them what they asked for and that was it.”
Bechtel was recognized on the opening day before 40,000 Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts from across the nation, assembled on a hillside in West Virginia he helped to transform into an amazing facility.
“It’s very impressive work that’s been done,” Bechtel said. “I think it’s going to serve the Boy Scouts and the country very, very well.”
When asked what his favorite part of the facility might be, Bechtel hesitated and laughed.
“I haven’t seen it all yet,” he said.
He said he hopes young people who visit the Summit will not only enjoy the programs, but gain a greater appreciation for the values and opportunities offered by scouting.