Scout's Honor: Two local teens earn Eagle Badge
WORTHINGTON -- Two local teens were awarded the Boy Scouts' highest honor in a ceremony Monday night in Worthington -- the rank of Eagle Scout.
Cody Ingenthron and Brandon Meyerdirk, members of Boy Scout Troop 134, each received the Eagle badge and a scarf that signifies their rank. It was the first ceremony in the troop's history in which two individuals received the award.
Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout takes years of work, as Boy Scouts must perform a number of tasks to earn merit badges along the way. The final step -- obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout -- requires the individual to complete a project that benefits their community.
Ingenthron's project was to provide families with an individualized picnic space at Chautauqua Park. Originally, he envisioned constructing two or three picnic tables separate from the string of tables the city has chained together in the park. The individual settings, he said, would give families more privacy in gathering for their picnic.
However, in meeting with the City of Worthington about his idea, Ingenthron learned the park no longer had a picnic space that was handicap-accessible. The table that met the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) had been damaged.
Ingenthron took the city's suggestion and sought donations of money and supplies to construct a new ADA-qualifying picnic table, complete with a handicap-accessible grill and a 9- by 13-foot cement pad with attached 5- by 5-foot cement sidewalk.
A refurbished steel picnic table frame and donated plastic lumber from Bedford Technology was used to construct the ADA-approved table. The tabletop is raised higher than a standard picnic table and extends on one end so that a person in a wheelchair can access it.
Worthington Ready Mix donated cement for the project, CRI Construction donated the forms and materials, Arnie's Welding made the mounting bracket for the grill, and work on the table legs was donated by John's Body Shop and Quality Auto Body.
Ingenthron's project was completed in October 2004 and was later approved by the Boy Scouts' district Board of Review in Luverne. At that point, he knew he would be receiving the Eagle Scout.
The honor has been a goal of Ingenthron's ever since he switched from the Cub Scouts to the Boy Scouts in the middle of fifth grade.
"It was the highest honor," he said. "I decided to strive to see how far I could go."
Of course, it helped that Ingenthron watched other members in the Scouts obtain their Eagle badge.
Though no longer a member of the Boy Scouts -- he became ineligible after celebrating his 18th birthday in February 2005 -- Ingenthron continues on with Troop 134 as an adult member. The Minnesota West Community and Technical College freshman said he'll likely continue as an adult Scouts member until he moves away to complete his four-year college degree. He remains undecided about his career plans, but one thing is for certain -- achieving the rank of Eagle Scout will definitely look good on his resume, he said.
Brandon Meyerdirk's Eagle Scout badge will be given to him more than two years after he completed his final project -- and is a testament to his determination not to give up.
The Worthington High School senior said that after meeting his Eagle Scout requirement -- he conducted an educational program on heat exhaustion, heat stroke and hypothermia for participants in the 2003 King Turkey Day parade in Worthington -- he put the final step, completing the paperwork, on the back burner.
Meyerdirk finally went before the Scout's Board of Review in November to report on the completed project. He learned then that his Eagle Scout badge would be forthcoming.
The idea for Meyerdirk's project came from his mother, who had helped with a similar presentation years earlier.
"It hadn't been done for quite a while," said Meyerdirk, adding that he had originally thought about just supplying water and juice for parade participants at the end of the route. The Board of Review members suggested doing the educational program in conjunction with handing out the fluids.
Meyerdirk said the program was well received by parade participants, and volunteers helped him to explain the symptoms of the various ailments as well as treatments. Wallet-sized cards filled with handy tips were also handed out during the event.
With their final requirements met and their Eagle Scout badges achieved, both teens are proud of their accomplishment.
"To me, it means I have a great responsibility," Meyerdirk said. "People look up to me more and respect me more because of it. I need to act like an Eagle Scout now when I'm out in the public."
Meyerdirk received a second honor Monday night -- a Navy commendation plaque. The honor is given to Eagle Scouts who plan to enter the armed services.
Already enlisted as an E-3, Meyerdirk plans to complete the Navy's nuclear program. He leaves July 12 for basic training in Chicago and will then go on for further training in South Carolina. Eventually, he said he will work on a submarine.