Four new Eagle Scouts of Gig Harbor Boy Scout Troop 217 attended their Court of Honor on Saturday at the Sehmel Homestead Park Pavilion. The new Eagles are Charlie Peckinpaugh, Mitchell Dodo, Conner Ivey and Tyler Lund.
Current scouts lit ceremonial candles to represent different ranks in scouting. The four Eagles escorted their parents as they were brought up. Mothers were presented pins, and fathers got a pin as well. Mothers pinned Eagle medals on each scout. Then the new Eagles were presented to the audience and made small speeches.
Afterward, guests were invited for dinner and a slideshow of the past 12 years the boys have been in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
“What is unique about this Eagle ceremony is that the four Eagle Scouts have been in the same Cub Scout and Boy Scout troop since they were about 8 years old; now they are 18 years of age,” troop treasurer Brian Ivey said.
After they proceeded through the scouting ranks, successfully completing scores of merit-badge programs and engaging in troop activities, the final step to reach scouting’s highest rank, the Eagle, is to complete a major project for the community.
Peckinpaugh’s project was to build a kiosk for Joemma Beach State Park right next to the park’s boat launch. It is currently being used to hold youth-sized life jackets for boaters.
“My project was very difficult to manage around the weather and with all of the technical construction details,” Peckinpaugh said.
Lund’s project was to erect three double bat houses at Wilkinson Farm Park.
“By giving bats a place to live, the community gets fewer bugs and free natural fertilizer for the FISH Food Bank Garden in the Park,” he said.
Scouts Ken Lund, Jordan Ivey, Connor Ivey, Brian Ivey, John Reichel, Dave Reichel, Gustav Nelson, Peckinpaugh and Dodo helped Lund with the project.
Dodo’s Eagle project was to construct a 115-foot fence along a dangerous dropoff at Joemma Beach State Park.
“What I thought would take a couple days to build took only a few hours, thanks to the help of my Troop 217 friends, Garret Ness, Tyler Lund, Conner Ivey, Gus Nelson, Lars Nelson and Jordan Ivey, who got it done in five hours,” Dodo said.
It was made with pressure-treated lumber that the scouts painted over, and the posts are held 2 feet in the ground with concrete.
Dodo thanked Tacoma’s Grey Lumber Company, which donated materials and sponsored his project.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to help people,” Conner Ivey said. “That is one of the reasons I joined Boy Scouts. I designed my project to do just that.”
Ivey built concrete ADA-approved ramps for Pierce County Parks and Recreation at Gonyea and Dawson Park.
“With the help of Bay Concrete and Construction and the gracious donation from Miles Sand and Gravel, I achieved my dream,” he said. “I learned how to lay concrete, and I helped further the development of my leadership skills. I wanted to do something that few Boy Scout have done.”
Troop 217, sponsored by St. Johns Episcopal Church on Skansie Avenue in Gig Harbor, meets at 7 p.m. each Monday. It is one of the oldest troops in Gig Harbor.
For more information, call Scoutmaster Greg Nessat 253-691-5611.Hugh McMillan is a longtime freelance writer for The Peninsula Gateway. He can be reached at 253-884-3319 or by email at hmcmnp1000@ centurytel.net.