You Know You’re From...Kronenwetter: Dick Amelse, Master Scout

You Know Your're From...Kronenwetter
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:04 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:07 PM CST
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KRONENWETTER, Wis. (WSAW) - Since 1987, Dick Amelse has been volunteering on a near full-time basis with the boy scouts. He’s never collected a paycheck, but his payday is seeing the youth receive their eagle awards.

He’s been building bridges, or whatever is needed for camp, ever since.

“The back of his brand new truck is 8 square feet of tools,” said Dan Schmit, a longtime scout and friend of Dick.

“We couldn’t afford to hire someone to do the things he does,” said Dave Schult, commissioner of Samoset Council.

For the first 17 years of adulthood, Dick Amelse built his resume in construction. “I have a history of construction and management and running crews,” he said. It’s a skillset benefiting the Boy Scouts and Samoset Council for more than 35 years.

Growing up outside of Tomahawk, joining the Boy Scouts was never an option for Dick. “I grew up on a farm. I was the second oldest of eight kids. There was so much going on with babies and younger kids, no time for parents to run me in.”

That all changed in 1987 though, when his sons became Boy Scouts, and he’s been in ever since. Dick eventually became a Scout Master.

“Dick is one of those individuals that started out being a parent and then took on a role. No matter what was asked of him he would just take it and do it,” said Schmit.

“Mentoring the youth, creating a relationship. Helping them to become and becoming better individuals,” added Schult.

He’s worked himself all the way up to vice president of Samoset Council properties.

Cole Morehouse has known Dick for 6 years. He’s felt and seen the impact he’s making.

“He’s never in it just for himself. Like, he’s in it for the big picture,” said Morehouse. “And I think Dick just has that, has that servant leadership in him to instill in others.”

His reach goes beyond central Wisconsin. Last year he was one of 53 people nationwide recognized with the Distinguished Service Award. An honor handed out fewer than 1,200 times since 1940.

“Very honored. It makes you realize other people notice you. You think of all the stuff you did and, well, it’s a reward for my work,” Amelse said in a shy tone.

“He’s getting recognized for what those kids are doing and that was neat,” added Schmit.

At 71 years old, Dick has no immediate plans to slow down. “Yeah, you feel a lot younger. But then every once in a while they’ll remind you of your age. You’re an old guy,” he said with a big laugh.

“It would be tough not to have him around,” Schult said.

Still building boy scouts, relationships, and his legacy one day at a time. Dick said his wife of 51 years, Jeannie, has come to accept this is his way of life. It’s scouting and her, not necessarily in that order. Dick has grandchildren who are boy scouts, too.

Dick said, “It’s been an enjoyable time.”