Eagle Scout is the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouting and requires years of dedication and hard work. Scouts must demonstrate proficiency in leadership, service, and outdoor skills at multiple levels before achieving the Eagle rank.
Fewer than five percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle badge. Those who do achieve this rank carry those leadership skills and dedication to service into adulthood.
In recognition of the 100th anniversary of Scouting, the DCI is featuring Eagle Scouts who still exemplify all that the Eagle badge stands for — character, integrity, leadership and service to others. This feature focuses on community and business leaders who rely on those values to guide their actions with colleagues, clients and family members.
As a Life Scout and leader, Richard Weldon impacted the lives of many young Scouts, including that of his son Chris. “My father was one of my biggest influences,” Chris said. Another influence was Ken Ebert, an Eagle Scout, jeweler, musician and friend, who is now deceased. “Ken was one of the most intelligent people I have ever met and had a great influence in fostering persistence in me.” He also recalls Hubert Harris, a leader at the OA Gregor Scout Camp where Chris earned many of his merit badges. Two of the most memorable are camping and canoeing; the most challenging was aviation.
For his Eagle Scout service project, he worked with his church, Calvary Baptist, to minister to shut-ins. He enlisted the help of his troop, volunteers and church members to put together packages to distribute to the elderly and shut-ins in the Delta area.
Chris still dedicates time to that ministry, as well as several other service projects at Calvary Baptist Church. He’s also carrying the Scouting tradition forward through his son, who’s a member of a Cub Scout pack in Cedaredge. His Scouting experience influences the way he thinks, acts, and works every day. As the administrator of the Delta County Jail, he has many opportunities to model the values he developed through Scouting.
Eric Smith earned his Eagle rank while a student at Alamosa High School. After graduating in 1972, he studied animal science at Colorado State University. He now lives in Delta where he’s engaged in veterinary research and meeting the charge to return the service Eagles are given in their boyhood. He has served as Scout executive officer, Explorer Post advisor, Venture Crew advisor, and on the Western Colorado Executive Council, as chairman of the Eagle board of review and on various committees.
“But I’d still rather be a boy with a backpack, a trail, and the whole world ahead,” he commented.
One of his role models was Bob Jack, a government trapper and outdoorsman, “the quintessential mountain man.”
“How lucky we were to have him as our Explorer Post advisor,” Eric said. “From the classroom to the trail, he was written on our hearts. His yearly 50-milers with us in the Crestones were legendary. So many successful men owe their beginnings to Bob Jack. I am humbly one of the many Eagle Scouts to his credit.”
Eric vividly remembers earning his lifesaving badge by hauling a 200-pounder across Adam State’s Olympic pool at the young age of 13.
“To this day I still use all the knots and can even serve up an edible meal from the campfire. But it is the leadership training from Scouting that has been a lifelong resource in my family, in church service, and adult Scouting,” Eric said.
As a teen growing up in Englewood, Brad Percefull learned to be self-reliant and self-sufficient from Scoutmaster Reese Braun and Assistant Scoutmaster Chuck Collins. “They passed along the skills necessary for self preservation in all kinds of environments,” Brad said. “They also encouraged me to live the Scout law (A Scout is trustworthy, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent), which becomes a more important guide to me with every passing day.”
A partner at The Insurance Center in Delta, Brad still enjoys exploring new places — a pursuit he first discovered while earning his pioneering badge.
For his service project, he and a fellow Eagle candidate built water diversion bars to prevent erosion in Daniel’s Park south of Littleton.
People may joke that a Scout is always prepared, but Brad says that’s one of the most useful lessons he learned. The motto has helped him in business, in community service work, and in the woods in bad weather.
Brad says he “enjoyed” a couple of winter campouts in a snow cave on Grand Mesa with a local troop in recent years. “Other than that, my adult involvement is trying to live the Scout Law every day.”
As a young boy growing up in Paonia, Don Chapman learned a lot from his dad, who was also his Explorer leader.
“He always taught me that if a community was good enough for me to live in I better be willing to give back to that community in any way possible. In other words give back more than you get.”
Don graduated from Paonia High School and attended the University of Colorado. He is a pharmacist at City Market.
Forty-four years later, he doesn’t remember each of the 21 merit badges he was required to earn but he does recall treading water in Cleland Pool for up to an hour without ever touching the sides. “I would come home so tired I would go right to bed.” With perseverence, he earned his lifesaving badge.
His Eagle Scout leadership service project involved planning and building a summer camp on top of Kebler Pass, near the old townsite of Floresta. The Paonia troop had been granted access to the land through a longterm lease.
“I think Scouting did more to prepare me for life than any other activity as a youngster,” Don says. “I still am very comfortable in the outdoors and confident that I could take most curves given me.”
As an adult he has remained active in Scouting. In the ‘80s he served on the Ragged Mountain Scout committee. He was a packleader for Cub Scouts, a Webelo leader and scoutmaster for Troop 485. He currently serves as a committeeperson for Troop 485 and is chairman of the troop’s board of review.
A member of Troop 84 in Somerset, Orin Carrington earned his cycling merit badge by pedaling a single-speed bike over the hilly gravel roads surrounding Somerset. He picked up his last badge — the firemanship badge — in 1948. Eagle Scout service projects were not a requirement at that time.
“Most of the lessons that I learned in Scouting have been guiding me throughout my career as well as my personal life,” Orin said. “I can still remember and use some of the basic knot tying and splicing I learned then.”
His dad was one of his Scoutmasters. He also remembers a Western Colorado Scout executive named Earl Ring, whom he worked under when he was on the junior staff at Scout camp for four years.
After graduating from Paonia High School in 1952, Orin attended the Colorado School of Mines. He graduated with a degree in metallurgical engineering in 1961. He is now retired, living in Hotchkiss and driving a school bus for Delta County Joint School District #50.
Helmsing is a rifle platoon leader in the U.S. Army and is currently stationed in Washington state.
A 2001 graduate of Delta High School, he studied geology and secondary education at Western State College. He graduated in 2007.
For the Helmsings, Scouting was a family activity and Jack became involved as a young Cub. He remained active in Scouting through middle and high school, when he built a batting cage for his Eagle project.
“Jeff Wilkes (the troop leader for St. Michael’s Boy Scout Troop 485) was awesome. He knew just about everything, and what he didn’t know, he had an answer to the next time we saw him.”
The skills he learned while earning his orienteering badge serve him to this day. Many Scouts like to spend time on the shooting range, but in Jack’s specialty, marksmanship has also proven to be a valuable skill.
Bill is an executive officer, C/1-24 IN, 1st Brigade 25th Infantry Division, at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. Scouting prepared him for the rigorous academic and physical training he successfully completed at the U.S. Military Academy. He earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 2007.
A 2003 graduate of Delta High School, he enlisted the help of his troop and other volunteers to remodel the press box at the middle school football stadium for his Eagle service project.
To earn their canoeing merit badges, members of his troop paddled around Confluence Lake while learning strokes, rollover procedures, and other techniques. The training culminated with a trip to the Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota which was the trip of a lifetime, he says.
The skill he uses to this day is orienteering, or in Army terms, land navigation. “We practiced the skill several times in college and continue to use it now, whether it be in training in garrison, while deployed to Iraq, or on the weekends when I’m climbing or fishing,” he said.
A first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Jeff Day is stationed in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is a student naval aviator and will fly a C-130J Hercules upon earning his wings in April.
Jeff is a 2001 graduate of Delta High School and a 2006 graduate of Colorado State University.
In addition to a squadron leader he met in Florida, who set high standards for his troops, he’s been inspired by Jeff Wilkes, the scoutmaster for Troop 485.
“He was a real inspiration to me. Whatever crazy dream I had he always made me believe I could achieve it.”
He remembers how tough it was to earn his water survival merit badge, but says that the confidence he gained from that challenge has paid off during the multiple survival tests he’s had to take in the Marine Corps.
Jeff’s interest in aviation was reflected in his Eagle Scout project. He painted a compass rose at Blake Field to help aircraft align their compass for IFR flight.
He firmly believes the basic skills he learned through Scouting have made him a better Marine.
“I learned the value of always being prepared, as well as the ability to accomplish simple challenges in an environment with limited supplies. You wouldn’t think building a tripod with some rope to hold some water when you are 13 would later help you solve lifesaving challenges. But it is those simple foundations the Boy Scouts built that I feel have really helped me excel in the Marine Corps.”
During the search for Eagle Scouts to feature in this article, two other Scouts responded.
Paul J. Stamsen of Troop 486 in Delta was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout effective Sept.15, 2003. He is attending Aims Community College in Greeley.
Doug Metcalfe lives in Arlington, Wash., where is a journeyman lineman with the Bonneville Power Administration. He graduated from Delta High School in 1998 and completed his Eagle rank requirements in Washington. He is a Tiger Cub den leader who believes we owe it to our posterity to persevere in establishing love, justice, mercy, and godliness in their lives, and to anchor a respect for morality, fellow man, world, and our God deep within their lives.
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