Boy Scouts Troop 283 of Chandler recently held a ceremony for nine of 13 Scouts who have earned their Eagle rank in the last 17 months
Scoutmaster Ross Lemire said the boys achieved Scouting’s highest rank but celebrating their achievement individually was difficult because of the pandemic.
While the troop met online or outside in person, Lemire said, it “had a difficult time being able to celebrate the greatest personal achievement in scouting.”
On June 6, nine of the 13 Scouts gathered for a joint celebration at Chandler United Methodist Church, the troop’s charter organization, which only recently had opened its doors for inside services.
Those whose achievement were celebrated June 6 were Scouts Ryan Lemire, Louis Stewart, Ethan Merritt, Xavier Dion, Dominic Cangemi, Austin Harris, Josh Morris, Liam Nance and Cody Kuring. The four other boys who earned the Eagle rank were Joey Vullo, Jake Black, Nathaniel Miles and Suhan Kachiola.
“Many of these Scouts have been in Scouting since they were 5-year-old Cub Scouts,” Lemire said. “In addition to the skills, merit badges, and leadership positions each Scout had to complete for their previous six ranks, for the Rank of Eagle, the thing that truly sets this apart is the requirement for that Scout to plan, organize and lead a service project in their community.
“Community service is a core value of Scouting and those from Chandler have likely viewed this Troop’s handy work at Veteran’s Oasis Park repairing erosion, removing reeds from the streams, building sections of the community garden and building trails.”
Lemire said COVID-19 forced the boys to get creative. One organized volunteers to make thousands of masks “while another started collecting technology hardware for recycling, but ended up rebuilding a few hundred laptops that were given to students who need laptops to support required online classes.”
“If you happen to visit the Chandler Railway Museum,” Lemire added, “you will see at least four different Eagle projects that Scouts planned and led to earn their Eagle rank. In all, the service projects led by these Eagle Scouts resulted in over 1,600 hours of community service from over 150 volunteers.”
Here’s a look at what the nine who were honored this month did to learn Eagle rank.
Ryan Lemire, the son of Ross and Kelly Lemire and on his way to start his freshman year at Chandler Gilbert Community College, collected 1,001 pounds of computer and electronic parts for AZStRUT (Arizona Students Recycling Used Technology) for proper recycling and refurbishing and fixing up 100 laptops for student use.
“Giving students access to the internet is crucial now more than ever seeing as almost all schools have switched to an online format during the pandemic and my project helped these children continue their education,” Ryan explained.
Xavier Dion, son of Misty and Matthew Dion, made cloth masks for Banner Health at a time when masks were hard to get. He collected materials for the masks at various collection points, provided instructions for making them and then packaged them for delivery to the hospital.
Noting he hopes to attend medical school in the future, Dion said he undertook the project “because I saw a great need in the community” and wanted to help frontline workers.
Josh Morris, the son of Nikki and Shawn Morris and a Seton Catholic junior, planted 27 trees and made three park benches at Mountain View Park after collecting $2,000 in donations for materials. “I really like trees and the environment,” he said.
Austin Harris, son of Scott and Michelle Harris, made a custom mailbox for Chandler United Methodist Church, where he and the rest of the troop meet.
Dominic Cangemi, a Casteel High ninth grader and the son of Anthony and Jessica Cangemi, also worked on the church, building an ADA-compliant pathway.
Cody Kuring built five doghouses for the Pinal County Animal Shelter.
Ethan Merritt, son of Chip and Ginga Merritt and an incoming Arizona State University freshman, sanded, washed and painted a sugar beet train car at the Arizona Railway Museum.
Liam Nance, the son of Kim and Chris Nance, also worked on a project for the museum, making informational signs because “the railway system that covers Arizona has very interesting history” and “I wanted to cover a small portion of it.”
Louis Stewart, son of Michael and Deidy Stewart and starting his freshman year at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, also made signs for the signals at the museum.
Boys interested in joining Troop 283 can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.