PRINCETON — Every Boy Scout pledges to do his duty to God and country and to help other people at all times.

Friday, Travis Brown’s friends, family and fellow scouts gathered to pay tribute to his oath kept and to applaud the Princeton Senior High School senior as he achieved the honored rank of an Eagle Scout.

Brown, now 16, began his scouting journey in 1998, when he entered Pack 10 as a Tiger Cub. Advancing through the ranks of Wolf, Bear and Webelos, Brown put his heart and determination into a wide array of activities that were displayed on a slide show Friday at Princeton’s First Church of God.

As the pushcart derby races, the pinewood derby, the rain-gutter regattas, the blue and gold banquets, Webelo weekends and more showed on the screen overlooking the sanctuary full of supporters, Brown remembered the friends and fun he had at each event.

“It’s really fun, and you get to do a lot of stuff you wouldn’t get to do otherwise,” he said.

While Brown was putting everything he had into each Cub Scout event and savoring the friendship and fun he found along the way, scout leaders were paying attention to his work ethic and dedication to the scout oath and law.

In 2003, Brown received the Arrow of Light award, the highest honor bestowed on Cub Scouts. As his membership in Boy Scouts Troop I began, Brown embarked on the first of many summer camp visits to Camp Powhatan. He attended Brown Sea Island, Base Camp twice and Claytor Lake Aquatics Base.

In 2007, he was elected by his peers to scouting’s equivalent to an honor society. He was named to the Order of the Arrow.

When he had met every challenge and pushed past every other mission, Brown turned his attention to the rank of Eagle Scout.

“To become an Eagle, you have to do a service project,” Brown explained.

As he looked around his community to select a service, his project hit close to home. He noticed a back deck and stairway at the First Church of God was decaying and in desperate need of repair.

“I just saw it and knew it needed to be done,” he said.

Many scouts spend a lot of time raising funds for their service projects, but Brown’s church leaders were so grateful he was willing to put his scouting service to work at their facility that the trustees funded the demolition and construction project.

Once the project began, Brown organized and supervised the labor to complete the project on Oct. 16, 2006. He estimated there were 10-12 scouts and four or five adults who turned out to secure the new deck and stairs behind the Mahood Avenue church.

The scout said he would never forget the feeling of accomplishment that accompanied the end of the project.

“It just felt good to see what it used to look like and what it looks like now, he said, pointing out a large window to the refurbished deck below.

Brown attended his Eagle Board of Review on May 22, at which time he learned he would indeed become an Eagle Scout.

He gave most of the credit for his achievement to his parents, Caroline and Darrell Brown, especially his mom.

“She helped me through everything and just encouraged me to stay with it,” Brown recalled.

As he prepared to accept the honor Friday, Quarter Master Blair Cooley served as the master of ceremonies and called the candidate to his honored post at the front of the sanctuary.

Mercer County Chief Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope delivered the keynote address, encouraging Brown to savor the Eagle experience. Swope, a scout in his youth, earned his Eagle Scout pin in April 1968, and said he can “remember everything that happened that night.”

“This is going to be something that’s going to be into your brain for the rest of your life,” he told Brown.

The judge and fellow Eagle also took time out to applaud Brown’s parents, scout leaders and church mentors, likening Brown’s growth from a boy into a man as a tiny acorn turning into a tall, strong oak.

“You need to take a deep breath and savor this moment. Now, you’re going to face the rest of the challenges in life,” Swope told the new Eagle. “Your great accomplishment tonight is just a sample of who you are ... the skills you have learned and the good judgment you have shown will put you in the right direction.”

Swope also told the audience that young men like Brown will leave their communities a great deal richer than they find them.

Away from scouting, Brown works part-time at Allen’s Supermarket and mows lawns throughout the community. He enjoys target shooting with his dad, listening to music, spending time with friends and serving as a member of the First Church of God youth group.

In the future, he intends to pursue a career in law enforcement, a decision he attributes to the Boy Scout Promise and Scout Law.

He also plans to remain active in Boy Scouts and serve as a mentor and inspiration to younger scouts, but he wasn’t sure anything could top the experience of becoming an Eagle.

“I think the best part is just becoming an Eagle Scout and being able to help other kids,” he said.

— Contact Tammie Toler at ttoler@ptonline.net.

Recommended for you