Last Sunday, Thomas Grimshaw, Keaton Holappa and Andrew Gauthier joined the ranks of Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, Steven Spielberg and Michael Moore. The three Hamilton residents and members of Wenham-based Boy Scout Troop 28 became Eagle Scouts.
Fellow troop members, family and friends were at the ceremony known as the Eagle Court of Honor held at .
To become an Eagle Scout is not a small undertaking. Many, if not most boys can claim to have at one time or another been a Cub Scout, but it is a select few that make it to scouting’s top rank. Becoming an Eagle Scout takes many years of steady commitment. Most who rise to the challenge are in their last year or two of high school when they earn their final merit badges.
Holappa, a recent high school graduate, remembers that he was in third grade when he first began Cub Scouts.
“In fifth grade I switched over to Boy Scouts,” he said, going on to explain that Boy Scouts runs from fifth to 12th grade.
For the benefit of a layman, Holappa described the structure of Boy Scouts.
“The common stereotype is boys helping grandmothers cross the street,” he began. But, he explained, earning advances in lower ranks does not involve merit badges.
“Tender foot, second and first class (focus on) knot tying, first aid and other basic skills,” said Holappa.
“(The ranks of) Star, Life and Eagle require merit badges. You have to earn 21 merit badges to make Eagle Scout.”
“There’s a set 12 you have to earn (these include disciplines) such as physical fitness, communication and first aid the rest are elective,” he elaborated.
“Each you are required to work through in 90 days.”
For Holappa the badge he earned for climbing was most notable.
He earned it on a giant climbing wall built at Camp Wah-Tut-Ca, the Boy Scout camp in Northwood, N.H.
Perhaps most significant of all the tasks required to reach the rank of Eagle Scout is the Eagle Leadership Project. This, said Holappa, requires 100 man-hours. For this each scout is expected to come up with a plan that must then be accepted first by his own scoutmaster and then by representatives from the district.
“The project must benefit a charitable organization or the community,” said Holappa. Initiating the project requires filling out a twelve-page form.
For his Eagle Leadership Project Holappa opted to pair-up with Boston-based Bikes Not Bombs to run a bike drive in Hamilton. The event collected 46 bicycles and secured the promise of 20 additional bikes to be donated by .
Ron Gauthier, the new Eagle Scouts’ scoutmaster, is himself of the Eagle Scout fraternity. A native by birth, the senior Gauthier led the way for his son Andrew. Demonstrating that to accomplish great things one must keep moving the elder Gauthier was too busy to pause for an interview. On a recent evening after work instead of putting his feet up at home he was out the door again to his younger son Jonathan’s baseball game. In ninth grade now, Jonathan pitches, plays third base and currently holds Star Scout rank.