Cooper Honored With Citizen Award

SALISBURY — The Del-Mar-Va Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), has announced that Philip C. “Pete” Cooper has been selected to receive the 2011 Distinguished Citizen Award.

Cooper will be honored at the annual awards dinner on April 16 at The Fountains Wedding and Conference Center.

For 26 years, the Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner has been one of the Council’s premiere events. The award is an annual recognition of those who give freely of their time and talents to improve the quality of life on the lower shore. Selection criteria include how the community has benefited from the individual’s contributions and the lasting effects those contributions have left on the community.

Past recipients have included Richard and Marianna Holloway, Richard Henson, Frank Morris, Richard Hazel, Virginia Layfield, Paul Martin, Lewis Riley, Dr. William Hytche, Jim Perdue and Dr. Ray Hoy.

If you’ve traveled anywhere in the state of Maryland over the past 70 years, chances are good that you safely reached your destination after driving on or crossing over something expertly designed or engineered by Pete Cooper.

In his 47 years of service to the state and Wicomico County, (he was Salisbury’s first Director of Public Works and its third City Engineer from 1950-1978) Cooper was instrumental in the design and construction of significant projects like the Choptank River Bridge, the Cambridge Creek Bridge, the Severn River Bridge in Annapolis and its four-lane companion bridge when a “new” Route 50 required a spanning of the same waterway.  

But perhaps his proudest accomplishment, by his own admission, is the Sinepuxent Bay Bridge-the Route 50 Bridge into Ocean City. “One of the finest bridges ever built” is what he’ll tell you.

Cooper’s incredible Salisbury body of work includes mapping out major thoroughfares like Riverside Drive, Waverly Drive, Eastern Shore Drive and Carroll Street. Credit too the development of the Downtown Plaza, Salisbury Zoological Park and Riverwalk Park to the vision of Cooper.

In the middle of all of this, he found time to spend three years, from 1943 to 1946, in service to his county as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Seabees unit. He oversaw projects around the globe, and wrote about his experiences in a novel called “The Engineer in War & Peace.”

Equally as distinguished is Cooper’s connection to Scouting. He has served as Troop Committee Member for Troops 149 and 176 in Salisbury, Camping and Activities Chairman for the Tri-County District and the Del-Mar-Va Council, and as a Council Member at Large. He was also presented the Silver Beaver Award by the Del-Mar-Va Council in 1965. The Silver Beaver Award is made for noteworthy service of exceptional character to youth by registered Scouters within the council territory. He was also instrumental in the road design for Nanticoke Scout Reservation, what is now known as Henson Scout Reservation.

He is a past winner of the prestigious Salisbury Award for his numerous contributions to community and you’ll find a sign designating “Pete Cooper Way” hanging from Eastern Shore Drive in recognition of his many accomplishments.

Tickets to the dinner are $100 each, which includes a donation to the Boy Scouts. To reserve a table, learn more about sponsorship opportunities to support the dinner, or purchase an advertisement or congratulatory greeting in the program, contact Kevin Les Callette, Development Director, BSA, at [email protected] or call 443-523-7639. On line registration is available at

Reservation deadline is April 10. Advertising deadline is April 1.