While a college student at Eastern, several times just to waste time,
I would look at the local county newspapers. Frequently, they would
list a Eagle Court of Honor and I would go. Besides, what else would a
bored college student do??
One place that I continually go back to time after time is in
Maysville, Kentucky. Once a strong coal, iron and barge traffic town,
the city was at that time, suffering from its youth moving south to
Lexington, or northwest to Cincinnati. The majority of the people left
in the town are those that have strong family ties, those associated
with the few industries and those that make the daily commute into
Portsmouth, Ohio, or Lexington, Kentucky or Cincinnati.
After looking one afternoon in the Mason County newspaper, I decided
to attend the Court of Honor for a Scout that completed a massive
recycling project in the town. I arrived and sat in the back of the
church basement, only being noticed by a mother of one of the Scouts
of the Troop. I wore a suit and tie because I did not learn the
lesson of "being prepared" for such events all of time and my two
Scout uniforms were both caked with mud from the last camporee went
to back home.
They also stunk to high heaven, too.
During the ceremony, the Scoutmaster asked that all other Eagle Scouts
present please come forward, introduce yourself, and then stand behind
the Scoutmaster. So, of course, I went forward and after the Police
Chief, several National Guardsmen in Army Green, the director of the
city's Park and Recreation Department (a former professional Scouter),
the current District Executive, I too, introduced myself to the
assembled crowd. I then took my place as the city's budget manager,
the manager of the McDonalds', a retired railroad executive, and
finally, a minister from a church two counties away all introduced
themselves and then took their place behind the Scoutmaster.
The Scoutmaster said something like "You see, Jerry, all of these
people as well as those that they represent, all of them have a stake
in your continued success as an Eagle Scout. They all stand behind me
as a reminder to you that it is not just me presenting this badge, but
all of those that have earned this high award before you."
The Scout went to Eastern in the fall and found me at our student
center's Grill. At that time, the Scouting Club/Post that I helped
formed was not there, but a group of us would meet there to sit and
talk like the fraternity and sorority people did. Jerry asked me how
did I know about the Court of Honor and whether or not I knew anyone
there. I rambled off a few names, none of which he knew and he asked
me if I knew some others, which I did not.
Then, he said something to Jim Jennings and I that made me feel good.
I don't know how Jim felt about it, but I am sure he felt the same
"Our Scoutmaster told us about this story of how Scouts would
recognize each other in strange towns. He said that when adult former
Scouts came to a new town, and didn't know anyone, that all they had
to do is to raise their hand in the Scout sign and someone would come
to their aid. I thought it was all (explitive deleted) until that
night of my Eagle Court of Honor. There were people there that I would
NEVER thought of as Scouts, let alone Eagle Scouts. And when you told
the group you were from Eastern, and a student there--when that same
day, I had applied to come here--it was great!"
Since then, every time I've been asked to put together a Eagle Court
of Honor, I have insisted that the newspapers please place the
announcement in their "weddings, announcements, and good tidings"
sections. I have NEVER been disappointed in the people, both inside
as well as outside of Scouting, that will give up a evening to attend
a event designed to honor a young man and a program.
Or maybe they came for the free food and Koolaid.
I recommend that you too, try it.