Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Tribute to 777

About 2 years ago I joined Boy Scout Troop 777.
Troop 777 is unique, in that all of the guys are Christians, homeschooled and generally like-minded.

Before Scouts, most of my friends were neighbors, nine times out of ten they were not the right people to be around, more than once was I been ridiculed for not going with the flow. Thus, I figured that maybe I was more of the "lone wolf" type, it might not be as fun, but hey, at least I wasn't getting into any more fights with my "friends".

However, in October of 2006, I attended a meeting of Troop 777 after being invited by a fellow Reformed homeschooler I gotten to know at a VF event.
I met 14 guys alot like me, we might not have agreed 100% on everything, we still might not, but I'd have to say at the very least I agree 90% with my Brothers in Christ.

Each trip we went on started with a prayer, each evening ended with a devotion and before we started out the subsequent day we would usually start by reading a Proverb and discussing the wisdom contained therein.

Our Scoutleader is Mr. "SGT" Bill Neal, devout Christian, Vietnam Veteran, booby-trap specialist and all-around great American.
The Troop would not be the same without Mr. Neal, who has given countless hours to make sure we had a good time and got something out of it.

In May of 2007 we had a camp-out at Mr. Neal's house, I had advanced two ranks at the same time.
Mr. Neal sat down with me and told me I now had a chance at getting the lofty rank of Eagle Scout.
My response was "Well, that would be great Mr. Neal, but that means I got a long way to go and a short time to get there."
Mr. Neal encouraged me to do my best to get Eagle, even though at the time I thought it was nigh unto impossible.

That July I attended my first Scout Summer Camp.
This was really the first time I was away from my parents and surrounded with "Babylonian" peers, I came to realize not only how much Christians are ridiculed but also destained.
Evidently, we were "that Troop", the one made up completly of those "homeschooling nuts". When I stood up to one particular guy, who did not really care to be corrected for some garbage he spewed, I found five pairs of clinched fists backing me up. I decided I liked being surrounded by homschooling nuts.

That instance is just one of many.
Quite a few people have tried to put us down, but all they do is further cement our bonds of Friendship and Brotherhood in Christ.

This past May, I received the rank of Life Scout and thus the last leg of my journey had begun. The first thing I had to do was think up an idea for a Eagle Project.

The first project I had in mind was a solar hot-water heater for a low-income church in our county seat.
This was a great project idea, but it just didn't feel right.
I wanted to do something bigger, something I knew more about, something with more meaning. I've always been interested in military history, WWII especially, but I had no idea how to incorporate that into an Eagle Project. After brainstorming with my Dad, we thought that a Memorial to all of the WWII veterans from our county would be great.

So after much coordinating with my county, paperwork and the like I brought my idea before a project board which consists of 5 Eagle Scouts, and whose lone purpose is to approve or disapprove Eagle Projects. After deliberating with the Project Board for 2 hours, they agreed to let me build the Memorial, as long as it was dedicated to all veterans from my county.

It takes about six to eight weeks to build the type of Memorial I wanted, but first I had to procure the funding. I had been talking to a Mr. Oglesby, from Keystone Memorials in Elberton GA about having them build a Memorial for me, but I only had until mid-September to get all $3300 that I needed.
If I did not have it by then I would have to go with a much simpler and quicker project.

August came and went, as did the first week of September, to make a long story not as long, I received $2000 dollars from a company that would like to remain anonymous.
Very shortly after that I ordered the Memorial.

I also needed bricks for the pathway that led up to the Memorial itself, I again began seeking donations, a local wrecking company owned by Mr. Bill Reeves, who is an Eagle Scout, donated all 256 that I needed.

That done, I planned all of my Project workdays.
When I went before the Project Board, they told me that, even though all other councils do not require this, my Project must have at least 150 man hours.
The best way to explain man hours is like this.
If three guys go out and work for an hour they just worked for three man hours.

My Troop has grown significantly since I joined, from 15 guys to 23.
I sent out an email telling about my first project workday, I received 4 responses, but when I arrived at our designated meeting place I found everybody in our Troop and quite a few Dads ready and waiting to start my Project.
This was late October, I now had less than a month and a half to finish my Project.

Mr. Oglesby, who turned out to be a homeschooling Dad and Eagle Scout, rushed my Memorial and got it to me in record time looking wonderful.
We laid it on the 29th of November.
You can see pictures of the workday and the finished Memorial here.

After this, all I had to do was finish my paperwork and get it to the proper authorities before my 18th birthday.
Thankfully, this was done in time and I was granted an Eagle Board, which is convened the 2nd Thursday of every month, it just so happened to be on my birthday.
As Mr. Neal said at the time, it was hit or miss.

To sum everything up, I met with the Board, who asked me a few questions and then told me to wait outside the room. After a little while I was asked to come back in and then was congratulated for achieving Eagle Scout.

All of this would never have come to pass without the good Lord, and the help of everybody in my Troop, many of the guys put their own Eagle Projects off for awhile so I could complete mine in time, for which I'm extremely grateful.

Whenever I think about the camaraderie in Troop 777, I'm reminded of two things, the first is Proverbs 27:17 which reads: "As Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."

The second is the rousing speech from the Shakespearean play Henry V, which is recited quite often in our Troop.

"Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day.
Then shall our names, familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,

We few, we happy few,
we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

Thanks 777!

God Bless,


Jerad McClure said...

A loud and thunderous congratulations to you Mike!!

Mike said...

Thank you Jerad!

BTW, I just saw your post about the Thousand Mile War, it was great!

God Bless,

Stephen Boyd said...

That's a good story, Mike! Great work on the project. I like hangin' out with homeschool nuts too ;).

Keep up the good work.

Mike said...

Thanks Stephen, I'm glad you like the project!

Will do!

God Bless,

Samuel B. Turley said...

Great Post, Mike and congratulations!


Samuel B. Turley said...

By the way, I love your "leave your comment" caveat. Definitely no Anti-Irish comments!

Sam Turley (formerly) O'Turley

Mike said...

Thanks Sam!

It was quite a journey, but I'm thankful that I made it. :)

Thank ya, I've had quite a few anti-irish comments before, so I thought that I would give the Sasanachs behind them fair warning.

Keep on bloggin'!

God Bless,