Once An Eagle, Always An Eagle

Thank you all for being here this afternoon. Scouts has given me a lot. A lot of experiences, a lot of opportunities, and a lot of memories. But, ultimately I love Scouts. I loved the adventures that I have had in scouts so far. I have had a ton. My first two camping trips were led by Mr. Bosbyshell. Both rained… Both hailed… In fact, during the second trip, we had grapefruit-sized hail. The storm was so bad that the hail tore through the dining fly. The ground was covered with hail. The shrapnel from the grapefruit-sized hail made it look like snow after we came out of the shelter of the cars. Mother Nature was playing dirty that day.

When I joined the troop Mr. Bosbyshell was my Scoutmaster. Despite my affection for Mr. Bosbyshell, I know the truth… He is cursed. In fact, I believe he is the reason that I never went on a Troop 1 adventure where our Troop did not face the worst that Mother Nature could throw at us.

I went to Northern Minnesota canoeing with many of you here. During the middle of the trip, we had hurricane force winds. More than 4 ½ inches of rain fell in one night. Trees were snapped like twigs and over 10 campers had to be rescued. Fortunately, we survived major losses with our only causality being a set of mixing bowls. Ian and Desmond thought they heard a bear… that bear was the storm.

I went to Philmont, NM. We had a storm. In the Ponil River Valley, a 40-foot wall of water swept trees downstream. Buildings in its way were leveled; rocks were stacked into piles 20 feet high by the rushing river. Overpasses made of concrete and rebar were quickly turned into gravel. To tell you the truth I never saw the wall of water. I was at 10,000 feet, and at 10,000 feet you don’t have to worry about being swept away by a 40-foot wall of water… You have to worry about being… hailed to death. In the morning our camp looked like a battlefield from the shrapnel that the hail, ice, and rain brought us. But, I saw the damage.

I went to the first National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in 2013. It’s in the mountains of West Virginia. For 10 days 40,000 scouts and I enjoyed temperatures that reached 105 degrees and beyond. The heat was one of the things that I thought might be a little issue but, not drought temperatures. This is a good point to tell you that the Summit Bechtel Reserve says on their website — and you can look this up if you don’t believe me — that Summit Bechtel Reserve would be much cooler than Fort AP Hill in Virginia, where Jamborees used to be held. It says, and I quote: “The Jamboree at the Summit will be cooler — literally.” Remember this is on the Summit’s website… not the Onion.

I hiked Mount Rogers. It rained. The temperature dropped. It was windy. We were cold… Mr. Bosbyshell was there.

I had so much fun. All of these trips in of themselves would have been great even if Mr. Bosbyshell had not cursed us.

But because of Mr. Bosbyshell, I have the better story to tell.

I was the Troop Quartermaster for several years. I loved the job. Mr. Bosbyshell often helped in the undercroft. I got to know him well. Thank you Mr. Bosbyshell. I consider you a friend. I consider you a mentor. I would like to present Mr. Bosbyshell with a mentor pin. Mr. Bosbyshell please, come up here.

Two people tried hard to inspire me not only to earn Cooking Merit Badge, but also to learn how to be a good cook.

Jon Wood fed me the best meal that I ever had camping. Dr. Pepper Chicken, Mac N Cheese, green beans, peach cobbler. Mmmm.

When cooking merit badge became required again for Eagle, Mr. Patterson encouraged us all to cook whenever the opportunity presented itself.

To this point, I have denied any responsibility with regard to two cooking related . . . incidents. It is time that I come clean.

First, during Boundary Waters — when we were starving. We only had two potatoes. Nevertheless, being the humanitarian I am, I did save Ryan’s fish from the barbeque. I don’t regret it.

Second, I did have a small part in the worst meal ever fed to anyone. And I would like to emphasize the word: “small”. During the Bob Hardin Adventure Race of 2014, we attempt to make jambalaya. All you need to know is that the meal is now referred to as Crap-o-lya. Also, I really didn’t think it was that bad.

Thank you, Mr. Patterson and Mr. Wood for trying to make me a cook.

My middle scoutmaster was Mr. McGoogan. During one of his years as Scoutmaster, it seemed like he went on every trip. Thank you, Mr. McGoogan, for giving so much time to us.

I want to thank someone who never gets enough credit. We are all afraid of him… Mr. Lee. At each meeting, Mr. Lee makes sure that we say the Pledge of Allegiance respectfully. He makes sure that our uniforms shirts are tucked in.

Mr. Lee also makes sure that we all have the very best chance to earn Eagle. Mr. Lee’s job in the troop is Eagle Coach. Mr. Lee reminded me almost every single meeting once I earned Star to keep working towards Eagle. Mr. Lee was one of three adults who came to my Eagle workdays. Mr. Lee read my Eagle write up. Mr. Lee has been a part of this troop for more than 25 years. He could go fishing, but he chooses to give his time to us. Mr. Lee has been a mentor to me. I would like to thank Mr. Lee by giving him a mentor pin. Mr. Lee please, come up here.

Throughout scouting, I have had the benefit of so many other people who have aided me towards the rank of Eagle. There were my other assistant scoutmasters, Mr. Tydings, Mr. Pham, Mr. Banks, Mr. Saunders, and Mr. Sizemore.

Folks on our committee who help me included Mr. Wood, Mr. Amos, Ms. Reese, and Mr. Weston.

I want to thank all the people who took their vacation time to lead me to Boundary Waters, Philmont, and to the Jamboree. Jonathan Skvoretz from Troop 164, who took me to Philmont, along with other scouts from Troop 1. {{Fellow Eagle Scouts and Philmont trekkers Craig Skvoretz and Andrew Whitaker are here too.}}

Thanks to all of you and to Scouting. I have had these amazing experiences most people my age would not get to have.

I want to thank the persons who helped me with my Eagle Project. Twenty-one different scouts came out to help during my Eagle workdays. I mentioned Mr. Lee, thank you, Mr. Weston, and Ms. Cates.

Thank you to Reverend Tate and Reverend Harris who let us plant our Little Libraries on your church grounds.

I have loved Scouts.

All that weather I mentioned has given me the better story. It has also given me confidence that I can handle myself in the wilderness. I challenge all scouts and new scouts to be brave, take risks, step outside of your comfort zone, oh, and be prepared for any kind of weather.

Scouts has given me so much more.

Thank you to all of you who have been along this crazy journey and continue to do so. Thank you.

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Son, Brother, Eagle Scout, Tar Heel, Runner, Social Scientist

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Heywood Williams-Tracy

Heywood Williams-Tracy

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