By Ted Waddell
KENOZA LAKE July 3, 2001 On Saturday afternoon, 15-year-old Kevin George Darling was awarded the Eagle Scout Badge, the Boy Scouts of Americas (BSA) highest honor.
The Eagle Scout Ceremony was held at the historic Stone Arch Bridge near Kenoza Lake. About 100 family members, relatives, well-wishers and fellow Scouts attended the special event.
Darling is a member of BSA Troop 106 of Jeffersonville, Hudson Valley Council, Nav-A-Len District. The troop, founded in 1928, is sponsored by the Jeffersonville Lions Club.
Darlings Scouting trail to Eagle began when he joined Cub Scout Pack 106 of Jeffersonville as a Bobcat in 1992. He progressed through the Cub Scout ranks (Wolf, Bear and Webelos) until he was awarded the Arrow of Light on March 29, 1996.
The next day, Darling crossed over to become a member of Boy Scout Troop 106 of Jeffersonville. He became a Life Member in 1998 and was selected as an Eagle Scout on March 13, 2001.
Since becoming a Boy Scout, Darling has served in various leadership positions, has earned several awards and is a member of other scouting organizations like the Order of the Arrow (Ordeal), Brotherhood and the National Eagle Scout Association.
For his Eagle Scout project, Darling prepared detailed maps of two local cemeteries: the Fosterdale Cemetery and the Laurel Cemetery. He worked with Robert Theadore, director of the Sullivan County Real Property Administration; Dan Snedeker, co-superintendent of the Fosterdale Cemetery; and Robert Grund, chairman of the Laurel Cemetery, to develop the maps. The gravesites of fallen veterans were highlighted, and each site was marked with an American flag.
The Eagle Charge was presented to Darling by Assistant Scoutmaster Robert Thony, while the presentation of the Eagle Scout Award was done by his first scoutmaster, Tom Gain, who now serves as assistant scoutmaster of Troop 106. The Order of the Arrow Award was presented to Darling by Life Scout Ryan Gain.
Mary Snedeker was Darlings den leader in Cub Scouts.
Kevin was very quiet as a Cub Scout, but after joining the Boy Scouts, quiet little Kevin grew up quickly and worked on every merit badge he could and took part in every scouting event there was, she said. He advanced very quickly and became more sure of himself and his love of scouting.
When it came time for Kevin to do his Eagle project, he worked very hard and showed his leadership. . . . I am very happy to have been able to watch a shy boy grow up with the self-confidence that scouting has taught Kevin, she added.
According to Burton Robertson, scoutmaster of Troop 106, Kevin Darling will be looked up to by the other scouts in Troop 106 for the rest of his scouting days.
You must take the younger scouts under your wing and help them nuture their leadership skills, he said.
Assistant Scoutmaster Tom Gain said that becoming an Eagle Scout is a great accomplishment and a great responsibility, citing the obligations of honor, loyalty, courage, service and vision.
As an Eagle, the Scout Oath and Scout Law should take on new meaning for you, the motto and slogan take on new urgency, he said to Darling during the Eagle Scout ceremony on the banks of the Callicoon Creek by the historic stone arch bridge.
Darling received special commendations from several of the nations notables: President George Bush, James S. Brady, NYS Governor George Pataki, NYS Senator Hillary Clinton, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps General James L. Jones, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Laurie Freeh of the FBI, Edward Land, Jr. of the National Rifle Association, Senator John J. Bonacic and NYS Assemblyman Jacob Gunther III.
In addition, the newly minted Eagle Scout was recognized by the Virginia Military Institute, the National Park Service and the BSAs Nacha Nimat Lodge #86 Order of the Arrow.
After Darling graduates from high school, he plans to join the military either the U.S. Army in the footsteps of his grandfather, George Daley, who served in WWII; or the highly creased dress blues of his elder brother Chris, a proud member of the U.S. Marine Corps.
As the ceremony drew to a close and all the speeches had echoed into the past, Darling took a few minutes to reflect on the honor of earning his Eagle Scout badge.
I found that scouting was something that I liked, he said. It feels great . . . just the feeling that everything is okay, and everything is perfect.