Philanthropist Dell Joyner honored as ‘Good Scout’

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Jake Joyner loves his father very much and it’s clear that the feeling is mutual.

“When you have a child, you put on different eyes,” said J.I. “Dell” Joyner Jr. as he spoke to about 100 supporters at the ninth annual Wilson District Good Scout Award dinner Tuesday evening at Hardy Alumni Hall on the campus of Barton College.

Jake, born in 2010, isn’t active in Boy Scouts yet, but Dell Joyner wants to make sure that the opportunity is there when he and other children decide to join.

Joyner, a native of Wilson and owner of Joyner’s Funeral Home, was presented the Good Scout Award for his many years of support for Boy Scouts and other charitable causes around Wilson.

“It’s just a great honor,” Joyner said. “It totally came out of left field.”

Ever since his father, Joseph Iredell Joyner Sr., passed away on May 1, 2014, Joyner has taken what would have been his father’s salary and donated it to support worthy programs that benefit Wilson County residents.

“It’s nice to live by the motto of ‘You cannot out-give the Lord, but it’s fun to try,’” Joyner said. “So I have taken that money and I have given it away to help people and it’s turned around and helped me. I always say, ‘If you give, you get,’ and that’s exactly what has happened. I supported the community of Wilson and the Wilson community has supported me,” Joyner said. “I love Wilson, North Carolina and I want Wilson to do well. We are becoming a better community together.”

Joyner’s father was a third-generation owner of Joyner’s Funeral Home and now Dell is the fourth.

The senior Joyner made sure that his son was in Scouts.

“Scouts provided me something that he could not,” Joyner said. “Scouts taught me to fish, how to go camping and a lot of things that he got from Scouts, but because he ran a business, he didn’t have time to do, so he made sure he supported me in scouting and lots of other sporting venues. I was very fortunate to have a very supporting father and mother.”

Joyner got into Boy Scouts at the age of 13 and managed to achieve the prestigious Eagle Scout rank before he turned 18.

“I almost missed it. I was a Life Scout for about two years because the fumes got me — the car fumes and the perfumes,” Joyner told the crowd. “I turned 16 and I got a car and I got distracted with the girlfriends and the car, so things happened.”

Joyner remembers fondly the time he spent at Camp Charles and the time scouts spent there teaching the youngsters.

“They supported me all the years. I support them now,” Joyner said. “I want the Camporee to be there for my child if he chooses to go and other people’s children if they decide to go. I want that opportunity to be there. Just like the arts council and other sporting things. I want it to be here for future generations.”

People tell Joyner that he is being a good steward of the money he is spending in the Wilson community.

“We are giving to good causes and helping out the people,” Joyner said.

“It’s good to have someone step up to help in the way he helps and we appreciate it,” said Bobby Hardy , a fellow Eagle Scout and funeral director who described many outings with the Boy Scouts in which Joyner was a participant.

Dr. Jobe Metts, leader of Boy Scout Troop 6 of Wilson, said Joyner’s financial help benefits Boy Scouts.

“Scouting does cost a lot of money,” Metts said. “There is a very low membership (fee) for the Scouts, so most of the money is either generated through fundraising or contributions from people or business. Dell has been very involved in helping. He sponsors the fall Camporee just about every year that I can remember. He’s done a great job with that. He’s got a young soon-to-be-scout who will hopefully someday be joining one of the troops in town but he has been a very active person in the community not just for scouting but for the community in general.”

“I am doing what I was put on this earth to do,” Joyner said. “Let’s all go out into the community and do good work like we should.”