Ceremony held to honor 'the best of the best' in scouting
On May 7, six friends shared one last adventure the same way they’ve spent much of their young lives — together.
That evening, newly-minted Eagle Scouts Isaac Lammers, Justin Schneider, Jack Pappas, Steven Puterbaugh, Luke Plumb and Chris Moore were honored in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Chugiak with a Court of Honor in recognition of their achieving the highest honor in scouting.
“You’re the best of the best,” said John Dieffenderfer, former Soutmaster of Troop 230, which produced five of the six Eagle Scouts (Puterbaugh is a member of Troop 219).
All six young men recently graduated from Chugiak High School, and all six grew up in the local scouting community together, which took them to places like the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, the Chilkoot Trail and the Yukon River.
“These are things I probably would not have done without scouting,” Lammers said during the ceremony.
Several adult Eagle Scouts, throngs of family and friends, and dignitaries such as state senator Fred Dyson and state representatives Dan Saddler and Bill Stoltze, attended the ceremony.
Lammers said the turnout was overwhelming.
“It means a lot for all of us guys to see the support from our community and family and friends,” Lammers said.
The ceremony included a slide show showing pictures from the scouts’ numerous adventures, and each had a chance to talk about his favorite moment in scouting.
Pappas said the highlight of his time as a scout came during his second trip to the Chilkoot Trail.
“There’s not a lot of people that get the chance to do that, and scouting allowed me to do that twice,” he said.
Puterbaugh acknowledged that making the rank of Eagle Scout wasn’t easy. He said many scouts who began their journey as Tiger Cubs dropped out of scouting along the way — often because scouting isn’t always considered the most “cool” thing to do among adolescents. But sticking with the program, he said, has been a “blessing in disguise.”
“They might make fun of us because we’re scouts, but if they knew some of the stuff we do they’d be jealous,” he said.
Luke Plumb said the bonds he forged with his fellow scouts during his time in the program will last a lifetime.
“Scouting has forced me to leave my comfort zone and make new friends,” he said.
Moore told the audience that he would like to someday lead others down the path he and his friends followed.
“One day I would like to help several others make the rank of Eagle Scout,” he said.
Schneider — whose brother, Jordan, is also an Eagle Scout — said his desire to achieve the rank often waned as he moved up the scouting ladder. But Jordan pushed him to continue in the program, and ultimately provided the motivation he needed.
“I could not let him be the only one in the family to get this award,” Justin joked.
Schneider said he was glad his older brother pushed him so hard to achieve his goal.
“It feels awesome,” he said.
The scouts each completed community service projects as part of the requirements of the award. Plumb helped build a playground at River of Life Lutheran Church, Moore renovated the Boys and Girls Club’s outdoor teen deck and built a new storage cabinet, Lammers built ski racks for the Eagle River High Nordic ski trails, Schneider built a new entrance at the Chugiak-Eagle River Food Pantry, Puterbaugh refurbished playground equipment at Mirror Lake and Pappas built a new trophy case for the Chugiak High music program.
Pappas said the bonds forged through scouting will remain strong long after the six embark on their own paths in life.
“We’re all brothers in scouting,” he said.