Troop 61 honors newest Eagles

"I never though as a 7-year-old in Den II in the basement of the Presbyterian Church there could be more to scouting beyond the pine wood derby," McNeil said during his remarks to a nearly packed auditorium.

McNeil said the program is rewarding and he's honored to be part of it and now to have received his rank as Eagle Scout. He is aware of five other scouts from his original den who have also moved on to receive the highest rank in scouting.

As a member not only of the high school drama program, but also being involved with community theater, McNeil said he wanted to do something that can benefit the community.

"I thought I really wanted to give back to that," he said of his project.

Though he was a little nervous about the ceremony, McNeil was also thankful for the support he's received from his fellow scouts.

During the formal ceremony, county Legislator Jim Rhinehart awarded Lee and McNeil with a letter of commendation from the county. He said there have been men with the rank of Eagle Scout who have gone on to become President of the United States.

"All you young Boy Scouts, these gentlemen give something to look up to," Rhinehart said to the younger members of the troop.

According to Brian Underwood, the rank of Eagle Scout is only achieved by four in 100 scouts. In Troop 61, one in four scouts have received the distinction.

Lee and McNeil were joined on stage by their parents during the ceremony and provided their fathers with the Eagle tie tack to wear in their sons honor. Their mothers received lapel pins.

Their parents ceremoniously tied kerchiefs around the new Eagle Scouts' necks and placed the Eagle pin over their hearts, a symbol and reminder of their perpetual obligations as Eagle Scouts.

During the Court of Honor, Troop 61 also:

* Awarded 33 merit badges to scouts

* Celebrated the rank advancement of Brandon Ciancio, Andrew Bolton and Chris Hartnett

* Named Matt Sheppard as the new senior patrol leader and Glenn Underwood, Jake Kipp and Shaun McConnaghy as assistant senior patrol

* New assistant scoutmasters are Andy Ramsgard and Gustav Neibuhr

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