Letter writer: Eagle Scout Court of Honor in Antioch a nice respite from bad news

Dear Editor:

In a season of terrorism, foreign and domestic, and of relentlessly bickering national politics, and other assorted bad news, attending an Eagle Scout Court of Honor November 7th, was just what the good doctor ordered. It was pure balm applied on the wounds of cynicism to applaud four young men dedicated to the pursuit of the Scouts’ charter virtues; trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

At the event held at Antioch’s Church of the Rock Travis Bartlett, Aaron Butler, Nicholas Gutierrez and Kendall Rowley accomplished what only 4% of all Scouts do; attain the highest rank of Eagle.

The four joined the ranks of two million others over the 105 year history of Scouting who have become Eagle. That distinguished group includes a large number of past Presidents, titans of commerce, military leaders, artists, sports legends and community leaders of all stripes. It includes the likes of Neil Armstrong, Hank Aaron, Steven Spielberg and 39 of the 312 astronauts the country has boasted since 1957. As a note, consider that 207 of the 312 pilots and scientists in the astronaut program have been in Scouting at some level.

Our four local young men earned their rank with requisite sweat and perseverance. As required, they donated hundreds of hours to community service; exercised progressively higher leadership roles; completed a major Eagle Scout service project that involved raising funds and organizing volunteers; spent scores of overnights on camping trips learning the use of a compass and navigating by the stars, as well as acquiring other survival skills, including how to treat things like concussions, fever, stomach cramps, and wounds. Furthermore, they met with parent advisers and earned a minimum of 21 merit badges from a field of over 100 in topics as diverse as astronomy, cooking, photography, changing a flat tire. personal finance, fitness and oceanography.

The young men stand on the shoulders of 83 years of Troop 153 history here in Antioch. The Troop was chartered in 1932 and, to their credit, the Methodist Church has supported the troop all these years. The first Eagle rank was earned in 1962 and now numbers 59 from the thousand plus young men who have passed through the Troop.

One of these young men, I am proud to say, was my son Joshua who earned Eagle in 2007. His maturing into a young man of confidence convinced me that the Scouts are the best thing since sliced bread; the organization is like a character catch-all; it covers such a myriad of practical, moral and leadership skills.

As a practical bonus and godsend to any parent, the camping trips help constructively channel all that pent-up teenage energy while building lifelong friendships in the process. When my son went on to high school and the close to 3,000 Deer Valley student campus, I didn’t fear he’d get lonely in the maddening herd, or corralled into the wrong crowd. He had, after all, an affinity group of friends that had his back as he climbed mountains, repelled caves, built snow caves and shot the rapids in their company.

Thanks to the Church of the Rock for all these years of unfailing support and to Scout Master Dave Johnson and all other parent mentors who give tirelessly in mentoring our youth. Just when you feel forlon on human nature, along comes an inspired group like the Scouts who champion the best in human nature and have a proven, time-tested program to back up their good intentions.

Thank you Messrs, Bartlett, Butler, Gutierrez, and Rowley for making my day at the Court of Honor by sharing your stories. Your family, friends and acquaintances are fortunate to have you in their midst as you make the world a better place,

There is a Scout saying that typifies the exuberance of the organization. My wish is it stays with you all your days.

It’s a good day for Scouting.”

Walter Ruehlig


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