A Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Court of Honor was recently held in the sanctuary of Rockford United Methodist Church (RUMC) to recognize a 17-year old Rockford youth for achieving the highest rank attainable in Boy Scouting – the rank of Eagle Scout.
A large gathering of family, friends, fellow Scouts from Rockford’s Troop 264, Scout Masters, and officials from the President Ford Council were present to honor William “Will” Avery Zimmerman in achieving BSA’s highest award.
Will, a soon-to-be Rockford High School senior, was about to join the elite 2% of all Scouts who earn at least 21 merit badges and demonstrate Scout Spirit exemplified through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, along with service and leadership. The final requisite for achieving Eagle Scout rank is an extensive service project – the Eagle Project – which the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages successfully to completion.
The Eagle Scout Service Project is the opportunity for a Scout to demonstrate leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of any religious institution, any school, or his community. The project may not benefit the BSA and cannot be of a commercial nature or be solely a fund-raising project.
Will chose as his project the construction of a pair of 6 ft. long, beautifully hand-crafted cypress benches to grace the narthexes of RUMC. No easy task, the entire project from start to finish required some 400 demanding hours of labor from Will and his Scout Troop 264 team.
During the Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony Michael Sulgrove, Chief Executive Officer of the President Ford Council of the BSA and an Eagle Scout himself, lauded Will for his accomplishments. Sulgrove said, “Will is joining the ranks of the likes of President Gerald R. Ford and Neil Armstrong. Both men prized their Eagle Scout titles as crowning achievements. Astronaut Armstrong was the first man on the moon. Who can forget his famous words ’The Eagle has landed’?” (Armstrong himself named the lunar-lander, Eagle I, to recognize the brotherhood of BSA Eagle Scouts.)
“Armstrong prized his Eagle Scout medal so highly that he carried it on board during his mission to the moon and left it there in a little box on the moon’s surface as a memento of the mission prior to his successful return to Earth,” added Sulgrove.
The title of Eagle Scout is held for life and is exemplified by the phrase, “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle”, said Will’s Scoutmaster, Mark Bremmeyr, while lauding Will as a “straight arrow and possessing all of the right stuff.”
In closing the ceremony, Scout Executive Sulgrove turned and exhorted Will with these words, “From one Eagle Scout to another, from today until forever, you’re an Eagle Scout – bring great honor!”