Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank issued by the Boys Scouts of America, is a demonstration of character. To earn the rank, the Scout advances through the various ranks, earns at least 21 merit badges and leads a service project that demonstrates leadership, organization and other skills. Three students have achieved this rank in recent months, including seniors Tony Kaiser and Keith Bremmer and sophomore Matthew Reger.
Matthew, a member of Troop 3046 out of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, recently earned his Eagle Scout rank by organizing the building of a shelter at OLPH. He chose that project, he said, when he heard his parish wanted a shelter after junior Shawn Fitzpatrick earned his Eagle Scout rank by building a shelter at Holy Family. Matthew spent a year working on the project, from planning it to soliciting donations and organizing a crew to help build it.
Matthew said the parishioners of OLPH supported the project, and their donations totaled about $1,000 for every Sunday Mass at which he spoke about his fundraising efforts for the project. He was able to raise about $7,000, which covered the cost of the concrete pad and the hiring of a crew to pour the concrete plus the other materials, including wood provided at a discount by PC Building Materials. Once the project was complete, he had $500 remaining, which he donated to OLPH for the purchase of benches for the shelter.
Part of the Eagle Scout requirement is organization, and each Scout leads a crew of helpers on the project. Matthew was joined by fellow Scouts in his troop, friends from Providence and adults with expertise in construction, he said. After spending almost a year planning the project, the building itself took only a few weeks. Now that it’s complete, he is relieved that the work is complete and satisfied that people are using the shelter.
“It feels very amazing,” he said. “I feel like I’ve done something very important, and it’s a wonderful feeling.”
Matthew plans to remain involved in Boy Scouts, especially attending the troop’s campouts. He also is active in the school’s theatre program, including the spring musical, and he is a member of the Star Wars Club.
Keith, a member of Troop 4089 out of Sacred Heart, recently earned his Eagle Scout rank by cleaning up the parish’s garage. Over time, the area inside had grown cluttered, and some wood trim on the building itself was deteriorated. Keith organized a clean-up crew and a crew to install new metal trim and new shelving. He also led the reorganization of a fenced-in area next to the garage for recycling.
The crew helping Keith, which included adult friends of his family, fellow Scouts and his own friends, spent more than 100 hours on the project, with Keith putting in 29 hours of his own time to organize. He raised the necessary money by writing letters to potential donors and family members, and the funds were used to purchase materials, including paint and a new moving garage door.
Keith said he is gratified to see others benefiting from the newly reorganized space, especially the church’s Gardening Committee, which previously had a very cramped space to store their materials. Now, they can easily access their materials on the shelving units and have repeatedly expressed their gratitude.
“Hearing that people are actually getting use out of it is the best part about it,” he said.
Keith, who is a member of the Quick Recall team, Star Wars Club, Magic The Gatherin Club, Cross Country team and Boys Swim team is planning to attend Purdue University in the fall and major in animation. He said being able to add Eagle Scout to his application is something of which he’s proud.
“It lets people know the strength of your character,” Keith said. “You’re ready and willing to work. I’m more than proud to be a part of that.”
Tony, a member of Troop 4036 of Holy Family, spent a large portion of his summer organizing and leading his project digitizing the cemetery log books for St. John Cemetery in Louisville. The Catholic Cemeteries of the Archdiocese of Louisville organization had reached out to the local Boy Scouts looking for someone to help preserve their aging log books.
Tony and volunteers from his troop spent time taking photographs of each page of six books of 100 to 200 pages each. They then digitally cropped the photos, organized and categorized them by the names on the page, and converted them to pdf format.
He faced several challenges during the project, including a failed flash drive and the stress of needing to complete the project before his 18th birthday, a Boy Scout requirement. So completing the project was a big relief, he said. He’s also glad that the records and books are now more easily accessible and the books themselves can be preserved longer without regular handling.
At school, Tony is a member of Quick Recall, National Honor Society, National Science Bowl. His top two choices for college are Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology or Purdue University, and he plans to pursue software engineering.