Batesville High School sophomore Andrew Weigel was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout Sunday, March 19, at St. John’s United Church of Christ, Huntersville.   

“Earning the rank of Eagle means a lot to me,” Weigel told the more than 100 family, friends and fellow Scouts who celebrated with him. “It reminds me of all the fun and learning experiences I have had over the years.  It also reminds me of my determination.” 

Determination was key to Weigel becoming the 63rd Scout from Boy Scout Troop 634 (known as Troop 34 in earlier years) to gain Boy Scout’s highest honor, earned only after advancing through the Boy Scout ranks, completing a minimum of 21 merit badges and defining and executing a community service project.  All the requirements must be completed by age 18. Weigel’s journey began when he was 11.

The son of Ron and Beth Ann Weigel recalled advancing through the ranks quickly at first, but once he reached Life Scout, things suddenly slowed down.  “My dad kept telling me, ‘You are so close ... one more merit badge and you’ll be done,’” Weigel said. “Now, looking back, I am glad everyone kept pushing me along until I completed my task.”

Of the 21 badges needed, 12 are required in the areas of first aid, citizenship in the community, citizenship in the nation, citizenship in the world, camping, environmental science, communications, emergency preparedness, personal fitness, personal management, wwimming and family life.

The local domestic violence shelter, Safe Passage, was Weigel’s choice for his community service project. He outfitted the children’s play area by building a wooden swing set and picnic table and by purchasing a wooden bench and some landscaping.

He raised all the needed dollars and recruited and supervised the construction staff, which included fellow Scouts, friends and family. Leftover dollars were used to purchase a tub of “rainy day” items, several infant pack-n-plays and a sweeper.

Weigel is also a member of Scouting’s National Honor Society and Order of the Arrow. The 2006 Speed Meyer Scout challenge winner also has earned God and Family, and God and Church religious medals.  

Troop 634 Scoutmaster Jeff Lockwood explained that the Speed Meyer challenge is designed to test a Scout’s wilderness knowledge skills. “He is required to build his own shelter using only sticks, branches and leaves, sleep in it for one night and prepare his dinner and breakfast meals over an open fire. As luck would have it,” Lockwood told the group with a smile, “it snowed.”   

Eight Eagle Scouts from Troop 34/634 and three from troops outside the area were also on hand to congratulate and welcome Weigel into this special membership. They were Jeff Lockwood of Troop 200, St. Louis, Mo.; the Rev. David Smith of Troop 21, Suffern, N.Y.; Dr. Jim Freeland of Troop 77, Greensburg; and local Eagles Josh Freyer, Bill Hisrich, Harold Kramer, Jay Meyers, Bill Narwold, Dan Rauscher, Dick Sitterding and Robert Waaser. 

The Eagle Scout award marks not the end of a Scout’s career, but the beginning of his journey as an adult, explained Lockwood.  Upon entering Scouts, the boys are students. They progress to teachers, and pass down skills and values to the younger boys. They hold true to the Boy Scout Law, which calls them to be “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

At the conclusion of his acceptance speech, Weigel had one final thought for the younger Scouts:  “Work hard while you are young, and don’t give up.  I did it and so can you.”

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