Eagle wings spanning six decades touched tips Sunday to welcome another to the fold.
The Eagle Court of Honor for Asher Mace of Clay County’s Troop 95 marked what leaders first believed to be the troop’s 50th, leading it to organize a reunion of its Eagle Scouts from as early as 1969. Having earned the award myself in 1991, I was invited to attend what turned out to be the troop’s 55th, full of old friends from campfires long ago.
Mace, 14, said he was happy to share the day at the Clay County 4-H Fairgrounds, where more than 100 people gathered.
Formed in 1967, Mace pointed out the sheer volume of Eagles generated by a troop still meeting at the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department.
“I just felt it was good to have more Eagle Scouts than years. That means we’re doing more than one a year,” he said.
Mace’s Eagle Scout project merged two passions — 4-H and scouting. The eighth-grader organized the design and construction of fence corners, a slide and ground cover at the playground there.
4-H Council Leader Laura VanHorn spoke about the project’s benefit for future generations.
“The makeover out there is awesome,” she said, pointing out both 4-H and scouting are family affairs. “We should all take more time and invest in the things we love.”
His project brought back memories for myself and others there. Those fairgrounds were still under construction in 1991 when I organized a recycling drive to raise money on their behalf. With space donated by Sam Emmert at Timberland on U.S. 40, we maintained drop-off bins for materials, raising more than $300. Twenty-two years later it was good to see Mace continue that tradition, building further on the community that we’ve all inherited.
Among the Eagles was Randy Koehler, a charter member of Troop 95 who earned his rank in 1970.
“It’s a great event,” he said, near tables full of pictures of himself and friends. “It brings back a lot of great memories.”
Koehler’s project improved the former Camp Rotary, where he organized the scraping and painting of the lodge. Records documenting each rank he earned sat on display, alongside those of scouts through 2013, merit badges and competition ribbons.
Richard Hawkins, who earned his Eagle in 1980, explained the rank was chosen to coincide with the nation’s symbol. The nation’s first Eagle was granted in 1912, initially based on the number of merit badges earned. A service requirement was added in 1927, with the Eagle Scout service project added in 1965. At present, 122 merit badges are offered, spanning geocaching to welding.
“Looking through there, I was happy to see there was no Facebook or texting,” he laughed.
Clay County Prosecutor Lee Reberger also spoke, pointing out his job deals with troubled youth, and sometimes leaves him disappointed.
“And then I see someone like Asher,” he said.
Reberger said Mace has shown the ability to make good decisions. Likewise, he said the Eagles before him represent people the community is better for having known.
“What we see are projects which have benefited the community,” he said, adding Eagle Scouts are people who decide early to be part of something greater than themselves.
In 1995, Charles Ogborn earned his Eagle. Sunday afternoon, his mother Eileen came on his behalf, explaining that her son wanted to attend himself, but he’s presently in Kenya serving on a mission. Now an engineer, her son still volunteers when he can, she said.
“He got his Eagle here too,” she said before reuniting with my parents and others. “It’s been great.”
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.