Eight boys from Cobb and North Fulton counties have accomplished an even rarer achievement than obtaining the coveted Eagle Scout award.
They reached that goal as an entire Patrol within the same Troop, and celebrated that achievement in an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 10, in front of an audience in excess of 250 attendees.
Eagle Scout is the highest rank any youth can achieve in the Boy Scouts, and must be attained before turning age 18. Completing a leadership project that serves the community is the largest requirement for Eagle Scout, along with serving in leadership positions, participating in volunteer service projects, representing Scouting values and earning at least 21 merit badges.
The group of young men includes the following:
- Parks Chandler, Wheeler High School;
- Will Fulkerson, Walton High School;
- Hunter Hill, Roswell High School;
- David Masiarczyk, Mt. Paran Christian School;
- Andrew Meaux, Walton High School;
- Deford Smith, Walton High School;
- Charles Spencer, Holy Innocents' Episcopal School;
- Michael Sterling, The Westminster Schools.
Atlanta’s newest Eagle Scouts all come from the same Scout troop, Troop 1011, chartered by Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in East Cobb. The ceremony included a number of national and local leaders, as Sr. Pastor Randy Mickler, US Congressman Tom Price, State Senator Judson Hill, CEO, Atlanta Area Council BSA Tracy Techau, and Cobb County Commissioner Bob Ott, and consequently a fair share of wisdom for the young men.
Congressman Price reinforced that the principles that each scout holds near to his heart of Duty to God, Country and Self are the values that this great country was founded on and those that this country will continue to demand from its leadership. He asked the young men to not waver from their commitment to those values and actively demonstrate them throughout their lives.
Tray Techau reinforced that each of them represent what is good in our youth, and that they should remember the institutions and people that play important roles in their lives and remember to give back.
The journey started twelve years ago, when seven of the eight scouts began their scouting journey in Cub Scouts, Pack 121, at Mt. Bethel UMC. In 2006, after "crossing over" from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, the seven started a Boy Scout Patrol and added a new member, Will Fulkerson to their ranks.
Since that time, they have supported each other to reach the pinnacle of Scouting. This is a very rare accomplishment as this is only the third patrol in the history of Troop 1011 (a Troop over 30 years old) to accomplish this as an entire Patrol. The accomplishment was also highlighted by one of the young men being marked as the 250th Eagle Scout in the existence of the Troop.
This accomplishment is amazing when one considers that they all completed their mission by staying in Scouting when many boys get distracted by the sports, and the noted fumes of car fumes and perfumes. Each of them found a way to juggle their varied pursuits which across the Patrol include: football, competitive gymnastics, piano recitals, lacrosse, high school band and much more. The honors these young men achieved in areas outside of Scouting is long and wide.
These Scouts started in Cub Scouts building and racing their own cars in the Pinewood Derby, going on campouts and hiking Georgia’s trails. Later, Boy Scouts took them on many High Adventure trips including New Mexico, the Caribbean, Alaska, Boundary Waters and the Chesapeake Bay. But more than the trips, the friendships they all developed kept them in Scouting.
The boys dedicated the Court of Honor to a special mentor, Al Friel, who passed away in December of last year. Al assumed the leadership of Troop 1011 in the early 70s and essentially ran the Troop until his death. He played a special role in the lives to the boys and the adult leadership alike.
In addition to Mr. Friel, the boys owe much of their success to the three Scoutmasters that guided them throughout their Scouting years, Dr. Tom Holtom, Mr. Tom Whitfield and Mr. Roy Toney. Each of these men along with the Eagle coordinators of Mr. John Huffman and Mr. Sterling Spencer, played critical roles in their development, guidance and coaching.
Looking forward, each of the boys will be pursuing college in the fall. A talented group one is already committed to Princeton and will be playing football in the fall, one has been nominated for the US Naval Academy, and another is considering a variety of options to pursue his musical talents at the University level.
The remaining boys have received many of the acceptance offers they are considering and will be making decisions over the next two to three months.