Achieving rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America requires a combination of dedication, community support and hard work.
To honor such a big achievement and celebrate the club’s success, Troop 171 planned for many months the 100 Eagle Celebration held May 16 at Williamson Chapel United Methodist Church in Mooresville.
The ceremony was a three-part event, said Michael Kleinhandler of Mooresville. He said there was a ceremony to honor the 100th Eagle Scout to rank within the local troop, in place since 1994.
The Eagle Court of Honor was held as a graduation for the newest Eagle Scouts and the troops offered dedication of the scout-built pavilion on the Williamson Chapel UMC campus.
Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins spoke at the event and many former scoutmasters and Eagle Scouts were in attendance.
Troop 171 is one of the largest and longest running troops in the Southeast and Kleinhandler, assistant scoutmaster, attributes that success to the dedication of not only the scouts but of the parents and the community.
The troop has 100 active scouts and 46 active parents, he said, and because of that involvement it is a very enriching program.
He said there are three parts to the success of the troop: the dedication of Williamson Chapel UMC for use of its facilities, sponsorship by the local community, and the faith of the troop leaders to allow the boys to make their own decisions.
Earning rank of Eagle Scout is no easy task, where before their 18th birthdays the boys must put in a lot of hard work and dedication, Kleinhandler said. The boys have to have service hours, leadership hours and merit badges.
Kleinhandler’s son, Michael David Kleinhandler, became the 100th Eagle Scout for Troop 171. His dad could not have been more proud.
Individuals must complete a service project to finalize their Eagle Scout ranking and Michael David Kleinhandler repaired and revitalized a gazebo at Lakeshore Middle School in Mooresville.
Projects must be done at either a church, school or other nonprofit organization.
“The way Michael spoke in front of 200 people. I admired him,” Kleinhandler said.
“He really stepped up to the responsibility. I was almost brought to tears. It’s a nostalgic thing. I really earned a lot of respect for him.”
Michael David Kleinhandler said the event was a nice way to validate the work the troop has done together and to recognize the achievements they have made.
“The whole purpose isn’t about one person; rather, making an impact on community.”
In 20 years, Troop 171 has earned more than 3,840 merit badges and 1,205 rank advancements. The troop has also had 14,500 nights camping and hiked an accumulated 21,500 miles. They provided 36,400 hours of community service.
Bryant O’Tuel of Mooresville is responsible for planning and arranging for the troop. He said is a lifelong scout and doesn’t plan on changing any time soon, he said.
O’Tuel said the troop is very active by hiking, backpacking and camping and other service activities.
He said the dedication event was a huge success and he is always amazed at the work the young men are capable of: “We work real hard to help them make decisions. I think I am more proud of that.
“To see them leading such a young age is amazing. It exposes them to a lot of challenges in life at an early age.”
Rachel Daniels is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Rachel? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org