On Jan. 26, area residents, scout families, and government officials celebrated the grand opening of the Kennedy Scout Pavilion at Willow Waterhole Greenway. The Pavilion is named in honor of Dabney Kennedy and recognizes scouts who have completed their Eagle and Gold Award projects at the Greenway. Kennedy was a greatly respected local and national leader of the Boy Scouts; he held many roles over six decades and received multiple awards for his distinguished service.
Kennedy is a 1954 graduate of Brownwood High School. He married Peggy Parks who also was a graduate of Brownwood High School, class of 1956. They have lived all of their married life in the Westbury area of Houston. They have two sons who also live and work in Houston.
Kennedy holds many honors given to him due to his tireless endeavors with the Boy Scouts. He was a greatly respected local and national leader of the Boy Scouts who has held many roles over six decades and received multiple awards for his distinguished service.
Leadership roles include:
• Den Chief, Patrol leader, Scoutmaster, Camp Director
• Vice Chairman National Order of the Arrow Program
• Architect of the Modern National Order of the Arrow Conference
• Led/Participated in 38 National meetings and events
• Founded the National Leadership Seminar
• Led National Fundraising to Build the Museum for Founders of the Order
• National Order of the Arrow Lifetime Achievement Award
• National Order of the Arrow Centurion Award
• National Order of the Arrow Distinguished Service Award
• James E. West Fellow and Vigil Honor
• Arrow of Light, Eagle with Palms, NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award
• Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, Silver Explorer
Kennedy was also a community leader and fifty-year resident of Westbury. During this time, he served as the President of the Kolter Elementary, Johnston Middle School, and Westbury High School PTO's. In addition, he was President of the Westbury Civic Club and the Westbury Area Improvement Corporation, Vice President of the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy, and served on the Brays Bayou Flood Control Board and HISD Southwest Task Force. He was presented with the Citizen of the Year Award by the Mayor and Southwest Chamber of Commerce, and the Dow Chemical Presidential Award for Community Service.
The first Eagle project was completed at the Greenway in 2007 by John Chapman, son of Walter and Cindy Chapman and a member of Troop 740. Cindy is the President of the Westbury Civic Club and a board member of the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. In 2010, Becky Edmondson, a member of St. Thomas More (also a Conservancy Board member and President of WCC), began promoting the Greenway as a great place for Troop 99 Eagle projects. As a result, nine more projects were completed between 2010 and 2014. In 2015, Christian Lopez, a Troop 1226 scout and a neighbor of Conservancy member Bill Burhans, asked about doing an Eagle project at the Greenway. That began a string of over 44 Eagle and Gold projects that have been supervised by Mr. Burhans. On the date of the opening of the Kennedy Pavilion, the grand total of scouts completing their projects was at 54.
In addition to honoring Mr. Kennedy and scouts, other major contributors to the successful program and creation of the Pavilion at the Greenway were recognized with plaques. They included Ms. Edmondson, Mr. Burhans, Brett Byers, Russell Schexnayder, Bruce Krewinghaus, Howard Sacks, Trees for Houston, Shell Oil Company, Cheniere Energy, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Kennedy Family. The project to create the Pavilion received support from City Councilmembers Larry Green and Martha Castex Tatum, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Harris County Flood Control District.
Also noted at the ceremony were Tim and Ann Nisley, who had all three of their sons from Troop 99 complete their Eagle projects at the Greenway, Jan and Bill Huff from Troop 740 who had two sons complete their projects, William and Dionne Nealy who had both a son and daughter complete projects, and Nick and Karen Lopez from Troop 99 who had two sons complete their projects in 2019. Andy Lopez was specially recognized for his Eagle project to install plaques, a table, and five pine trees at the Pavilion, his brother Eric installed signage at the Pavilion and made improvements on the Bayou Trail across the street from the Pavilion. Alexis Norman was specially recognized for the sidewalk scout logos she painted at the entry to the Pavilion and Davis Thames for the Dabney Kennedy sign on the sidewalk along South Willow.