Congressman Kenny Marchant, who represents the 24th Congressional District — which includes Colleyville, Grapevine and Southlake among other districts — recently hosted the 10th annual Eagle Scout Ceremony where a record was set.
The Aug. 7 event gathered a record 72 Boy Scouts from the district who attained the rank of Eagle Scout over the past year.
The ceremony, which was held at the National Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, was structured to highlight each Scout by providing them the opportunity to describe their Eagle Scout project to their peers, Scout leaders and family members.
Nearly 300 people attended.
Projects included renovating public buildings, assisting the homeless, public landscaping and retiring thousands of American flags through the proper ceremonial procedure.
Marchant, who represents cities in Northeast Tarrant County and Northwest Dallas County, congratulated each Scout on his achievement following each Eagle Scout project presentation.
“I was honored to recognize over 70 new Eagle Scouts at our largest event to date,” the congressman said. “Each Eagle Scout made a special presentation about their contributions to the community and then was recognized of their achievement. I am very proud of them.”
Bill Steele, director of the National Eagle Scout Association, joined the ceremony as keynote speaker. He congratulated the Eagle Scouts on their distinction and spoke about the value of their achievement.
The Eagle Scout rank is the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America program. To achieve this honor, the Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges, develop and oversee a community service project and fulfill a pledge to live according to the Scout oath.
According to the National Eagle Scout Association, less than five percent of Scouts earn Eagle Scout rank each year.
The honored Eagle Scouts included 16 from Grapevine, eight from Southlake and four from Colleyville.
Colleyville: Joseph Campbell II, Troop 4; Brian Lang, Troop 98; Alec Reuter, Troop 905; and Luke Sheppard, Troop 28.
Grapevine: Adam Alexander, Troop 1905; Nik Bacon, Troop 700; George Carson, Troop 700; Tom Cassady, Troop 4; Alvin Christensen, Troop 240; Joshua Copeland, Troop 7; Connor Croak, Troop 740; Cole Deters, Troop 700; John Failor, Troop 7; Alex Luce, Troop 700; Michael Obenhaus, Troop 28; Dillon Rathman, Troop 905; Ryan Roop, Troop 845; Mark Swope, Troop 928; Nick Walker, Troop 28; and Sawyer, Troop 28.
Southlake: Austin Brannon, Troop 937; Michael Dachniwsky, Troop 928; Austin Hintze, Troop 700; Connor McTaggart, Troop 928; Brooks Ragsdale, Troop 928; Paxton Riney, Troop 7; Nolin Wheeler, Troop 928; and Colton Williams, Troop 928.
Of those, three were from Grapevine’s historic Troop 7: Riney, Failor and Copeland.
Those Scouts were among nine teenage Scouts and three adult leaders from Troop 7 who recently completed a twelve day, 100-plus mile hiking adventure through the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range at the world’s largest youth camp — Philmont Scout Ranch.
Bill Norton, Scoutmaster of Troop 7, said it was a fun trip that added to the troop’s decades of memories.
“Last year, we celebrated 100 years of Scouting for possibly one of the first chartered Scout troops west of the Mississippi,” Norton said.
On the recent excursion to New Mexico, the crew climbed thousands of feet high up steep mountains, slipped down mud-caked valleys in torrential rain and braved bears, mountain lions and other hazardous wildlife.
They carried more than 40 pounds of gear on their backs.
Life Scout Lane Tschirhart of Troop 7 wrote about their adventure.
“After making the two-day drive to the camp’s location in Cimarron, N.M., the troop began packing all the supplies, including tents, pots, clothes, sleeping bags and several gallons worth of water into large hiking backpacks for the journey,” Tschirhart said.
The Scouts would wake around 5:30 a.m. every day, break down camp and begin a hike that usually ranged between six and 12 miles.
The troop often stopped for rock climbing, fly-fishing, tomahawk throwing, shooting and other educational activities, he said.
They mostly ate beef jerky, energy bars, crackers and other dehydrated food and would boil water to cook rice, beans and spaghetti.
After hiking into one campsite staffed by Philmont personnel, they were surprised with a chuck wagon chili dinner with peach cobbler.
“At night the troop would stuff their food, toiletries, Gatorade-carrying water bottles and other smellables into bags and hang them from trees so that bears did not raid the camp and steal their food,” Tschirhart said.
Troop 7 also participated in a conservation project that helped preserve Philmont’s trails from falling into disrepair.
Among the peaks the troop climbed were the Tooth of Time — Philmont’s iconic rock formation — and Mount Phillips, which was the tallest mountain the crew climbed at 11,742 feet above sea level.
“While climbing up the steep switchbacks to Lookout Peak, a sudden rainstorm broke out and soaked everyone,” Tschirhart said. “At one point, lighting struck dangerously close to the open meadow the boys were crossing. “
On the way back to base camp, they had to cross two flash floods that were running over the trail.
“There was no way around, so a few boys crossed and held onto a rope to keep the other boys from being swept away by the water,” Tschirhart said. “By using teamwork, the boys made sure that not only their own group, but other Troops from Dallas, Seattle and other cities crossed safely.”