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Boy Scouts and Isakson honor 3 leaders
Senator big advocate of organization
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Pete Martin, John Melvin and Martha Nesbitt stand for the Boy Scouts oath in their own way.

"They represent what my wife and I decided years ago that we wanted our children to understand. You can live a happy, successful and fulfilling life, but there are three things you have to do," Sen. Johnny Isakson told a roomful of Hall County's community members at the 2011 Gainesville American Values Dinner for the Northeast Georgia Council Boy Scouts. You must prioritize education, relationships and faith, he said.

"Education is a journey, not a destination. When you graduate and get a diploma, that's a step on the ladder and your passport for future learning," he said. "Martha represents this commitment to lifelong learning."

Nesbitt, president of Gainesville State College and one of seven female presidents in the Georgia's 35 colleges and universities, was recognized alongside Martin and Melvin for the Boy Scouts' annual Ralph Cleveland Distinguished Citizen Award.

"No matter what you do, life is about relationships. If you respect your fellow man, you'll have a great future," Isakson said. "John always does precisely that and respects everyone who comes in front of him."
Melvin, a retired real estate lawyer for Stewart, Melvin & Frost, earned his Eagle Scout Award as a sophomore at Jefferson High School.

"And sooner or later, everybody is going to develop a faith in God. The earlier in life you do, the better off life will be," Isakson said. "Pete is an example of how important it is to have that deep, abiding and committed faith."

Martin is a pastor at Shady Grove Baptist Church in Cumming. He also served as live production manager for Tyson Foods and vice president of live operations for Peterson Farms. He is now vice president of poultry operations for Mar-Jac Poultry.

"When I was in Boy Scouts, what changed my life were those first 23 words of the oath," Isakson said. "If you take those 23 words and divide them and dissect them, you will have a successful and fulfilling life, even if you are a doctor, dentist, theologian or pluck chickens for a living."

When Congress returns to session on March 28, Isakson said he believes each member should take the Boy Scouts oath.

"If we take another pass for another year, we run the risk of mortgaging our children's future to the point where their lives will not be as happy and fulfilling as ours are now," he said. "We've reached the tipping point in this country with $14 trillion in debt, and now we're borrowing from these young men of the Boy Scouts and the future of our country."

Isakson encouraged the community to continue to support the Northeast Georgia Council Boy Scouts, which drew 31,000 members in 2010.

"Make an investment in your future and the future of this country," he said.

"The Scouts and our three honorees stand for the principles of everything that is right in this country, and your investment will in turn see them sitting on this stage as a future senator, attorney, pastor or college president."