Column: Eagle Scouts example of America's bright future

·3 min read

Jun. 25—It's been a long time since I donned a Boy Scout uniform.

But there I was last weekend, on a sweltering June morning, and my mind was racing back to those preteen days. I had been invited to an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony for two young men who had worked hard and obtained that lofty rank.

Truth be told, I was a lousy Scout. Like most boys back then, I signed up through my church and was soon part of Troop 110. I have vague memories of winning a medal from a competition where we were supposed to use our Scout skills to make a square.

My family has gotten much pleasure (and mileage) through the years about some of my misadventures. There were a couple of times I had to be picked up in the middle of the night from camping trips because I was not feeling well (read: homesick). I did make it through a week at Camp Linwood Hayne, on the outskirts of Augusta, but only because of my kind and benevolent Scoutmaster, Mr. Benton. And a midweek visit from my parents, including some of Mom's cupcakes.

But enough about me. Saturday's ceremony was to honor Joseph Deskevich III and Andrew T. Singer of Boy Scout Troop 115, which is sponsored by St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. I don't know Joseph, but I have been friends with the Singer family for many years and my wife and I were honored to be invited to Andrew's big day.

We learned a lot about the Boy Scouts. First, only 5% attain the rank of Eagle Scout. Among the requirements, according to my internet search, you must climb seven ranks, earn 21 merit badges and complete a service project.

According to the invitation, more than 2 million Boy Scouts have achieved that status since 1912. Eagle Scouts "exemplify the virtues of service, leadership, and duty to God, using their training and influence to better their communities and the world."

One of the coolest parts of the ceremony was the Voice of the Eagle by Jack Morris. He's been an integral part of the local scouting scene, and he also performed the "feather touch" on the two Scouts with a feather from an eagle.

The Most Rev. Robert Guglielmone, who recently retired as bishop of the Charleston Diocese, was a special guest. He has been very involved with Boy Scout programs during his tenure, and he gave each Eagle Scout a gift of patches and memorabilia he had collected through the years from jamborees and other events.

A trio of elected officials also spoke, and each had high praise for Joseph and Andrew.

Despite all of the negativity and noise, "Our country is in good hands and the future is bright," Rep. Bart Blackwell told the audience as he mentioned the new Eagle Scouts.

On a similar theme, Aiken Mayor Rick Osbon said, "Our world needs leaders now more than ever."

And Gary Bunker, chairman of Aiken County Council, applauded the two for their hard work.

"(Eagle Scout) still stands as the gold standard for personal accomplishment," he said.

Andrew will be headed to Columbia and the University of South Carolina in the fall. Joseph is still in high school. Both are now part of an exclusive club, and one that should open doors and provide exciting opportunities in the future.

Perhaps the inscription in the ceremony's brochure put the Eagle Scout accomplishment into perspective best:

"Put Eagle wings on my son's chest,

He is one of America's Best

He is prepared there is no doubt,

Now that he is an Eagle Scout."

Thanks for reading.