Democrat Photo by Rob Potter
A JOURNEY COMPLETED: New Eagle Scout Chris Edwards lights the candle on the base below this Eagle Scout badge as guardians Mary and Bob Wexler (right) proudly look on during Sundays Eagle Court of Honor ceremony.
Wurtsboro Boy Now An Eagle Scout
By Rob Potter
WURTSBORO May 23, 2000 -- When surveys have shown that only a small percentage of people who join a particular organization actually go on to earn that groups highest honor, it is very clear how special those high-achievers are.
Such is the case with the Boy Scouts of America, where only two percent of the boys who join scouting complete the advancement path to the rank of Eagle Scout. That journey is filled with tasks like earning at least 21 merit badges, learning countless Scout skills and organizing and completing a worthwhile community service project. Those young men then participate in an Eagle Scout Court of Honor, where their Scouting achievements are recounted for family, friends and fellow scouts, and the Eagle Scout emblem is proudly pinned on their khaki uniform.
At a Court of Honor Sunday afternoon at the Emma C. Chase Elementary School in Wurtsboro, Chris Edwards became the latest member of the brotherhood of Eagle Scouts.
Edwards, who joined Troop 92 Wurtsboro in October 1994, became the first member of the troop in many years to reach the rank of Eagle Scout. The 18-year-old senior at Monticello High School was honored by a host of family members, friends, scout leaders and troop members during Sundays ceremony.
The wearer of the Eagle award is the epitome of Scoutings best efforts and beliefs, said Michael McLaughlin, who is the Scoutmaster of Troop 92. Today, we have the pleasure of seeing Chris Edwards climax his Scouting efforts when he joins the company of Eagle Scouts.
Edwards path from Scout to Tenderfoot to Second Class through Life (which is the last rank a scout earns before moving on to Eagle) was traced with the help of fellow scouts and leaders.
The leaders also spoke of Edwards service project. Last autumn, he sought permission from the Town of Mamakating board to clean up an area cemetery. Under Edwards direction and organization, several troop members, leaders and volunteers then spent the Columbus Day Weekend restoring the cemetery. They cut and removed overgrown brush, mowed the thick grass and set overturned headstones back in their rightful place.
Following the actual award presentation where Edwards was given his Eagle medal, neckerchief and slide he presented Eagle mothers pins to his mother Robin Edwards and guardian Mary Wexler and Eagle fathers tie clasps to step-father Roger Castle and guardian Bob Wexler.
Several Nav-A-Len District officials praised Edwards achievement. They also presented him with congratulatory letters from various officials, including President and Mrs. Clinton. Edwards, who will graduate in June and begin his Marine Corps enlistment three months later, also received an Eagle Scout coin, a commendation from the Sons of the American Legion and a special Eagle trophy from Seymour Feldberg.
For the last 15 years, Feldberg, who earned his Eagle in 1954 and has been involved in Scouting for 60 years, has made such a trophy for the Nav-A-Len District scouts who earn the rank of Eagle.
Some people still dont realize how difficult it is to get the Eagle award, Feldberg commented. It takes a lot of perserverence and get-up-and-go to earn all of the merit badges and do everything else that needs to be done. Chris and every other Eagle Scout deserves a lot of credit.
Karen Collura, an English teacher at Monticello High School, was also on hand to congratulate Edwards. She admitted that a quick Internet visit recently enhanced her knowledge of Eagle Scouts.
I learned that they are friendly, honest, loyal and have a high degree of integrity, Collura said. And all of those qualities are evident in Chris.
When he spoke, Edwards thanked his family, friends especially good friend Brian Kurta, who first encouraged Edwards to join Boy Scouts and leaders for their support. He also advised the younger members of Troop 92 to move up the Scouting ladder to the pinnacle of Eagle Scout.
Being a scout and earning this award has made me a better person, Edwards commented. I learned that when you set a goal you need to stick with it until that goal has been accomplished. Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is a great honor.