OBSERVER Staff Writer
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
Tyler Strano (left) and Thomas Howlett Jr. (right) are shown with Scout Master Shaun Finch (center).
SILVER CREEK - Two local high school students have achieved quite an accomplishment. Two boys from Silver Creek High School and Boy Scout Troop 252 have earned Eagle Scout Rank.
Thomas Howlett Jr. and Tyler Strano, both juniors at Silver Creek High School, were honored at an Eagle Scout ceremony held at Mt. Carmel Church in Silver Creek.
"The Eagle Scout is a culmination of the effort of many leaders of these scouts," Greg Cole, who served as master of ceremonies, said. "It is an occasion for pride and joy and a time for serious contemplation."
Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is the highest rank in scouting. All applicants for the ranking must be examined by a troop committee to show proof that each scout have completed the requirements for Eagle Scout. Eagle Scouts must keep a record of various merit badges earned, exhibit leadership, character and have skills and crafts.
Scout Master of Troop 252 Shaun Finch said achieving Eagle Scout ranking is quite an accomplishment.
"It's a lot of work," he said.
Finch, who has been scout master for 10 years now, said it was important for the boys in his troop to have fun while working toward Eagle Scout rank.
"The boys have to have fun," he said. "You have to keep them interested and coming back."
One other scout, Cory Finch, also achieved Eagle Scout and spoke at the ceremony.
"We believe ... that (Thomas and Tyler) must understand that the Eagle rank is a responsibility as well as an honor," he said. "These candidates are eager and willing."
During the ceremony, candles were lit in honor of the responsibilities of an Eagle Scout. The candles represented living with honor, loyalty, having courage and having service.
"... extend(ing) a helping hand to those who still toil up the Scouting trail, just as others helped him in his achievement of the Eagle rank," Finch said.
Both males presented their mother with a pin for her love and support, as well as a pin for their father for his guidance. Both males were presented with a token inscribed with the scout law and oath on back.
In additional to meeting the criteria set forth by the scout council, both boys had to participate in an Eagle Scout project. Both chose to dedicate a bench to those who have passed away in the community. Strano built a bench in memory of the late Justin Phillips who died in July 2011 in a house fire in Silver Creek.
"I was driving down the road to work and saw this fire. I just felt terrible and knew I had to do something," Strano said. "Just to help the family was my main goal."
Strano, along with members from the troop, built a bench in honor of Phillips. The bench is now located at the Silver Creek High School in the courtyard.
Howlett chose to build a bench to honor two firefighters from the Sheridan Fire Department who had passed away. Originally, the bench was to honor former Chief Jeffrey Roberts who died as a result of a hunting accident in December 2011. Howlett, who built the bench with help from the troop, wanted to honor Roberts because his family knew the Roberts' family. The late Ron Keddie, who was also a member of the fire department, was helping Howlett with the project but he unfortunately passed away before it was completed.
"He was going to help out with the project. I figured he'd still be involved with the bench," Howlett said.
Both boys join an elite group of less than 2 percent of all scouts that achieve the Eagle Scout rank.
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