Story contributed by Kevin V. Hunt, a Scouting historian, author, camp director, blogger and speaker
I have been to a hundred or more Eagle courts of honor in my day, but I’ve never seen a parade of flags at the entry of a ceremony until I arrived at one unique court of honor in Mesa, Arizona.
I had been invited to the court of honor by Eagle Scout Christian, a member of Venturing Crew 538. The Scout asked me to present the Mormon Battalion neckerchief slide during the event. This award was a historic trails award given to him after hiking and camping on the Mormon Battalion Trail, learning the history of the trail and becoming an Eagle Scout.
As I entered the hall wearing my Battalion uniform, Christian (whom I had never met) immediately greeted and thanked me for coming to his program. A member of Christian’s troop committee conducted the court of honor and formed the Eagle’s Nest. I was proud as ever to join the Eagles in that nest. He called upon the troop to make the flag presentation. Christian, a Tongan, had his uncle offer an invocation. Christian then stood before the decorated podium, called the audience to attention and led us in the Scout Oath and Law.
The program continued with contributions from his former Scoutmaster, Varsity Scout Coach, and current Venturing advisor. Christian’s troop members came up in uniform and stood behind posters of each of the Scout ranks. One of the Scouts even lit up the sign with a flashlight – this was impressive.
James Mertz, his Venturing advisor, spoke of the greatness of the Eagle Award and Christian’s work to receive it. James presented the Eagle award to Christian and then Christian’s parents pinned his badge. After receiving the Eagle Scout Award, Christian presented several mentor awards. With great gratitude for each one, the Eagle expressed his sincere thanks for six different mentors. I had never seen so many mentor badges presented! The Eagle’s Nest welcomed Christian to the convocation with pride. The troop retired the colors, and then Christian’s brother gave the benediction.
The Scouting Spirit was strong and felt by everyone. Later, I told the Eagle’s father, “this is probably the most impressive Eagle Scout court of honor I have attended.”
Though not typical, there was a unique addition to the event. In the greatest of Tongan traditions, Christian’s family served a wonderful meal of orange chicken, rice, salad, and rolls to the crowd. Christian was serving and making sure everyone had enough – talk about service!
I came away from the event proud of this new Eagle Scout, proud to be an American and proud to be a Scout!
Scouting Wire would like to thank Kevin V. Hunt for submitting this story.