Against odds, five Troop 170 Scouts achieve Eagle rank

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 17, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Only about 2 percent of America’s Boy Scouts earn Eagle Rank. In Troop 170 of Natchez 65 percent of the scouts achieved Eagle Rank this year.

Daniel Brown, Aubrey Fulton, Jonathan Knight, Jason McCoy and Charles Ray worked through five other ranks before completing their Eagle project. Along the way the boys had to earn merit badges in a variety of categories including first-aid, camping, citizenship, family life, environmental science and life saving among others.

The final step in achieving Eagle Rank was to pick a community service project, get it approved and see it through.

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Fulton’s project was Clorox cleaning and power washing all of the city park playgrounds.

&uot;I did it so children could play in a cleaner environment,&uot; Fulton,18, said. &uot;As an Eagle and an elder in the troop first I would demonstrate how to do it and then let them (the troop members) do it.&uot;

Each Eagle had the help of their troop members to complete the project they chose. Brown coordinated the painting of all the benches at Duncan Park. McCoy’s project was painting fence rails at Kingston’s Cemetery, while Ray did the same at Natchez Cemetery. Knight cleared away overgrown brush at the Natchez Cemetery.

Several of the boys were in Weblows, the level before Boy Scouts, together. &uot;We have a real good Boy Scout troop,&uot; Troop Commissioner Rev. Steve Pearson said. &uot;I’m proud of all of them.&uot;

All the Eagles agreed that their time in scouting has taught them things they will use in the future.

&uot; Scouts has taught me hands on skills as well as moral values,&uot; Natchez High senior Knight said.

The boys said they were required to pass physical requirements as well as learning to cook and camp out without tents.

McCoy, 16, said he it was hard to believe he had finally made Eagle Scout. &uot;Finally, I thought,&uot; McCoy said. &uot;I’m glad to be here, but it took awhile.&uot;

Knight said many of the boys he’d started scouting with had not made it all the way to the end. &uot;Not many make it,&uot; he said. &uot; But I would encourage any boy to be a boy scout.&uot;

The scouts attributed the number of Eagles in their troop to their leaders and the troop itself.

&uot;We have dedicated leaders and scouts,&uot; Knight said. &uot;The relationship between the scouts and the willingness to help each other was a part of it.&uot;

A major role of being an Eagle and an older scout is leadership, Scoutmaster Eddie Ray said. Brown, 16, said one of the best lessons of scouting was leadership. &uot;All the smaller scouts look up to me,&uot; Brown said.

Troop 170 has 13 members.

All five Eagles plan to attend college and pursue careers in fields ranging from computers, and welding to medicine.