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The Clay County Advocate - Press-Flora, IL
  • Soaring like an Eagle

  • Seth Harrison, 18, of Rinard was honored this Saturday evening for achieving the Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Around two-percent of all those who have been Boy Scouts make it to the Eagle rank, which makes Harrison a very exceptional Scout. Speaking to Harrison and his parents, K...
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  • Seth Harrison, 18, of Rinard was honored this Saturday evening for achieving the Eagle rank in the Boy Scouts of America. Around two-percent of all those who have been Boy Scouts make it to the Eagle rank, which makes Harrison a very exceptional Scout.
     
    Speaking to Harrison and his parents, Kent and Lora, at the Eagle Court of Honor where Harrison was honored at Flora First Christian Church, it was apparent that it was not the amazing feats of Scoutcraft that Seth had to trudge through to get reach this rank, but the more mundane tasks like merit badge work and staying on track through Seth’s High School years.
     
    According to Kent Harrison, naming the hardest part along Seth’s trail to Eagle is easy. “The last two years, getting him to stay with it. It was easy until he got a drivers license and everything.”
     
    “We needed to push and push,” said Lora Harrison. “Anybody we could find, we had them bring it up.”
     
    Stories of the work and effort the parents put in to help Seth get here help make the parents’ large roll in the Eagle Court of honor make sense: Lora would later pin Seth’s Eagle medal to his uniform, while Seth pins a lapel pin to her and a tie tack to his father, who in his own Scout uniform, had no tie for it to go on.
     
    Still with all of the dedication Lora and Kent have, it’s Seth who got the work done in the end.
     
    To obtain Eagle, a Scout needs to have a time with a Troop, time at previous ranks like Star and Life and time serving in Troop leadership positions. He also needs merit badges, and a lot of them.
     
    According to Seth, the hardest part wasn’t the arduous mountain treks on two separate trips to Philmont Scout Ranch. It was, “Getting Environmental Science,” the last ‘required’ Merit Badge Seth earned. Merit Badges needed to earn Eagle are either optional, Merit Badges in whatever the Scout wants to work on and the dreaded ‘required,’ badges like camping, citizenship in the Community, Nation, and World, Personal Management, Family Life and Seth’s dreaded Environmental Science.
     
    The final part of earning the rank is the “Eagle Project” a service project that must be planned and executed by the Scout. This was completed more than a year ago for Seth when he refinished the Kiwanis Stage at Charley Brown Park outside of Flora.
     
    There was another challenge Harrison had to overcome as well, one many older Scouts are familiar with: time. To obtain the rank of Eagle, a Scout must still be under the age of 18. Which Seth was, barely.
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    “I tell you, these guys that wait until just about their 18th birthday,” Scoutmaster George Dickinson says with more than a little exasperation. “Of course you’re not alone,” Dickinson says to Harrison, then gesturing to the past Troop 282 Eagle Scouts sitting behind him, “We’ve had some of these other clowns do the same thing.”
    According to Dickinson and Seth’s parents, his Board of Review, the final step in obtaining the Eagle rank was about one week before Seth’s 18th birthday.
     
    “Slid in right under the wire,” said Lora Harrison.
     
    Seth joins a group of other Eagle Scouts that may seem overly large  for a troop the size of 282, likely an effect of the leadership of George Dickinson and Assistant Scoutmaster Tom Barbee. Present at the Court of Honor are Steve McKnelly, Greg Beard, John Melton, David Mills, Steven Barber, Rick Bowen, Tim Dickinson, Greg Perry, and Chad Traub, only a sampling of 282’s past Eagles. They are there to charge Harrison with his ongoing responsibilities as an Eagle Scout, the one rank in Scouting that really stays with you for life.
     
    As the ceremony begins, awards are given to other Scouts in the Troop. One of them, Zach Davis, receives his Life rank, one below Eagle. At 17, he will likely be the next in Harrison’s position, if he can complete the mad rush to get their before he reaches legal adulthood.
     
    The lights are dimmed as Dickinson lights a series of candles, each illuminating a tenet of the Scout Law. Harrison stands as an example of this law, especially in the eyes of younger scouts, Eagles on their brains.
     
    More words are said and its Harrison and his parents’ turn at the front.
     
    After he receives his badges, and is charged, it’s celebration time. Most of those there just want a moment to congratulate Harrison.
     
    Cake and punch are served and Seth’s friends and family take their turns clapping him on the back. Soon, the celebration is over, but Seth’s path is not. His time a a Scout may be over, but his time as an Eagle has just begun.
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