Saturday, June 4, 2011


I don't mention it here, but I have had a long standing relationship with the Boy Scouts of America. I joined as a Scout back in 1969 and stayed with that Troop until I moved from that town in around 1982. I was serving as Scoutmaster when I left, and turned the Troop over to a close friend who I had first met when his son joined. Before leaving I managed to turn out 2 Eagle Scouts, and they were my proudest accomplishment. The one was destined to be a Doctor according to his Mother's plan but through what he learned in Scouting, wound up becoming a Teacher and followed his heart. During my tenure I served as an instructor on the District Training committee, worked on camp staff, earned my Wood Badge Beads, attended a few National events, etc.
 From 1982 until about 1995 I took a few years off, and then when my son came into Cubs it started all over again. I was very involved and again wound up as Scoutmaster but also served as Associate Adviser for the Order of the Arrow Lodge, attended a few more National events with 'my boys', was graced with the Vigil Honor and the District Award of Merit, Scoutmaster's Award of Merit, and built some more life long relationships. I saw 5 boys get their Eagle during my tenure. I faded from the Troop in around 2005 because my Fire Service duties were taking bigger demands. I still remain as the Institutional Rep and make any events that fit my schedule or when they really need me. Frankly though, I have not been around enough for them as much as I would have liked to.
 I told you all that so that I can tell you this: Today there was an Eagle Court of Honor for a young man who had attained Scouting's highest Rank. I received an invitation as the Institutional Rep, and also as Former Scoutmaster for this young man as well as a friend of the family. I had intended to RSVP but somehow never got around to it. After this last week I had been feeling really down about everything and having been 'out of the loop' with the Troop, I didn't feel I would be missed if I didn't attend. But this morning I gave myself a talking to, and reminded myself that I had put a lot of time in with this young man and he had just completed the path that I had put him on. I forced myself to go, if for no other reason than to shake his hand firmly and offer him a 'well done'. He had earned that and more.
 When I walked into the Firehouse, I fully expected to be chastised for not letting them know if I was coming, and indeed, one of the adults hastily waved me over to where he was setting things up, somebody shoved a program in my hand. "Good, look, so here is your part in the program, take a quick looks at it, same as last time, you know the drill". It was like I had never 'left'.  I looked at the program in my hand and sure enough, they were so sure I would be there that they had printed my name in the areas I was carrying.
 It was a joy to cover my small part of the program and congratulate this young man in public. He had come into to the Troop under my leadership and we spent about 5 years together until I faded away. For the last 3 years or so, he has had a new Scoutmaster with which he has bonded. I knew my time was gone, but I felt good to be there and tell everyone about his growth and where he had started from.
 All the invited dignitaries, in turn, had similar words of congratulations, and I shared his parents joy in this major milestone in this young man's life.
 Having done my part, I relaxed in my seat to enjoy the rest of the ceremony, until they came to the part where the brand new Eagle presents the Mentor's Pin. This is a small pin which bears the Eagle emblem and is awarded by the new Eagle to someone who he has chosen as the mentor he wants to thank the most from his year's as a Scout. I assumed that he would pick his current Scoutmaster. He picked me out and it nearly blew me off the chair. I have not been around for 5 years and yet this 'kid' felt I had made enough of an impact to deserve this?! I was both astounded as well as speechless and completely choked up. No kidding, I had a lump in my throat so big that I couldn't say a word.
 When I sat back down it took me a few minutes to compose myself. When we were getting near the end, they clobbered me again and asked me to come up and say a few words about this young man. I lost it, but the crowd was understanding and they gave me time. I spoke of how this Scout appeared to me when he first joined, some of the trials he endured, a funny anecdote or two, and then I told him about some of my other Eagles and what they had accomplished. I told him of the two that went to West Point, the one who became a Flight Surgeon, and of course the teacher. I told him that I watch my Eagles, and I will watch him too. He has some big shoes to fill.

 When I left the house this morning I thought I was fulfilling yet another community obligation. What I was reminded of, is that all the hours, days and years we put into community service has a big paycheck and we need to recognize when that check comes due. Today was a huge payday for me. I should have never taken that for granted. I put in years of service to my Scouting community and I loved almost every single minute of it. That was good enough for me. I never expected the bonus that this day was to hold for me.
 Here's to all of America's Eagle Scout's, Past, Present, and Future. They are the hope for our world.



  1. Wow! I actually got choked up while reading! Well done, sir, you just never know how deeply you tough people simply by doing what comes naturally.

  2. Thank you Sir. Always an honor when you grace my blog with your comments.
    I actually didn't really read or tweak this one, just wrote it out and checked for spelling before I hit 'post'. I just re-read it and think I could have done a lot better with some effort. But this is one of those things where the story outshines the poor writing. When I am dead and gone, my Eagles, and all the Scouts I worked with will be out there doing good things, better than I could ever do or hope to do.
    I take more than a little pride in this, and them.
    Thank You again, I thought I had lost you as a reader, but I'm glad you're back.

  3. Keep doing what you are doing, you're a natural. 99% of my posts go out without a second read, keeps them honest, I think.

    Not a lost reader, just spread a little thin at the moment, I'll be back often.

    Stay safe!