ATLANTA - Every year, on a March Monday in Atlanta, the Rotary Club of Buckhead gathers for lunch and honors a top humanitarian. It's a list that includes leaders, both national and global. But on this day, this nonagenarian received one of the area's most distinguished honors.This year's honoree has a footprint that's far more local.
In a room full of sport coats, he's the guy in the Scout uniform -- 95-year-old Josiah Benator.
Benator has been a Boy Scout Troop Leader for 70 years. And if he's worn out from awards, it's only because he has received so many of them.
He keeps the awards -- along with the old photos.
"I'm from the old school," Benator said. "Oh yeah, definitely the old school."
But he receives the awards because of who he has led in these photos -- Troop 73. One of the longest-running in Atlanta's Jewish community.
Benator continues to promote it, wears the same Scout Leader uniform, even as his troop has dwindled to just two members.
"They say if you go into 90-95 with good health, you'll probably hit 100," he said.
But the awards? Benator says they are for someone else.
"I'm delighted," he said. "Not just for me, but for my wife."
Seven decades covers his commitment to the Scouts -- and his bride, Birdie. Josiah says he could have only devoted his time to the Scouts if his wife allowed it.
"I don't look for honors. I don't ask," he said. "My wife is by my side. And I -- just came along for the ride."
His wife and his troop keep him fulfilled moving forward.
"You don't look like you have any intention of slowing down," said 11Alive's Matt Pearl.
"I hope not. I hope I can keep going," Josiah said. "Well, I have to. I've got too much depending on me."
So, on a March Monday in Atlanta, Josiah Benator joins a limited list of honored humanitarians.
He reminds the audience of what's most important, and an award that does not compare to the blessings that bring it.
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