SEATTLE - Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates on Tuesday received the highest award that the Boy Scouts of America bestows on adults for distinguished service to youth.
Scout officials said he deserves the Silver Buffalo award for his success with Microsoft Corp., but more so for his humanitarian work through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a boy in the 1960s and '70s, Gates was a member of a Seattle's Cub Scout Pack 144 and Boy Scout Troop 186, achieving the rank of Life Scout.
Gates, who shared a table at the award luncheon with his father, William Gates Sr., said Scouting was "a very positive memory."
While "I wasn't good at hiking, I wasn't good at cooking the food, it was the overall experience of challenging yourself," he said.
In a videotaped tribute to Gates, his former scoutmaster, Don Van Wierengen, recalled a Scouting show at the Seattle Center where most boys in the troop were demonstrating outdoor skills.
Gates, he said, wanted to demonstrate computers.
Gates' foundation, which counts among its goals eradicating malaria and other diseases, has partnered with the Boy Scouts and the United Nations Foundation on a program to provide insecticide-treated mosquito nets to protect sleeping people in Africa.
The Silver Buffalo award was created in 1925. Past honorees include Charles Lindbergh, Norman Rockwell, Colin Powell, Walt Disney and 14 U.S. presidents.