Phillipston Boy Scout earns Eagle Badge for fire pit project

  • John Bennett (right) presents Eagle Scout Al Rose with the Mentor pin. PHOTO BY CAROLE GARIEPY

  • Eagle Scout John Bennett (left) pins the Mother’s Recognition pin on his mother, Christine Bennett during a ceremony at Congregational Church. It was as at this ceremony that he received his Eagle Badge for constructing a fire pit. PHOTO BY CAROLE GARIEPY

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 1/19/2023 3:23:36 PM
Modified: 1/19/2023 3:23:19 PM

Phillipston’s John Bennett from Boy Scout Troop 39 has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and was presented with the award in January during a ceremony at the Congregational Church.

The Boy Scouts have ranks just as the military does, and Eagle is the highest. It takes focus, commitment, organization and work to become an Eagle and the Scout has to achieve 21 badges, 14 of which are required. They are designed to help the Scout learn diverse skills that will help reach their highest potential and become a man who will be a benefit to his family, community, and country.

The Eagle Scout has to earn badges that teach first aid, including how to perform CPR; learning how governments work; physical fitness development such as swimming or hiking; developing an appreciation of nature and caring for the earth; the importance of cooperation and responsibility in one’s home and community; real-life applications such as good personal care and money management; camping, something Boy Scouts do a lot of. All of the badges help pave a good life path.

To culminate the lengthy process of meeting the Eagle requirements, an Eagle must do a project that will benefit his community. John Bennett made a fine stone fire pit where retired American flags can be burned. He conducted the first burning last November on Veterans’ Day in a ceremony that honored the country and the veterans who risked their lives to preserve our freedom.

The pit is conveniently located on 2A at the Phillipston Fire Department. People can put worn-out flags in a Flag Retirement Drop Box that was previously built by Eagle Scout Ryder Choquette. The box is located at the fire station where the flags are stored until the next burning ceremony.

The community appreciates and looks up to the Eagle Scouts who created a means for residents to respectfully retire their flags. Captain John Seamon said people are being very responsive in turning in their worn-out flags.

Scouting’s history

Boy Scouting was started in England in 1908 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell who was a highly honored major general in the Army. When he retired from military service, he thought about how young boys could benefit from an organization that gave them opportunities to grow physically and mentally, an organization that could help them grow into strong manhood, one with a goal to help other people at all times.

Slowly and carefully, he developed the concept of Scouting and wrote a handbook that he named “Scouting for Boys.” The slogan in it strongly emphasized “Do a good turn daily.” That slogan is what brought Boy Scouts to America.

In 1910, when American publisher William Boyce was on a business trip in London, a young boy approached him asking if he could help carry his heavy luggage. Boyce appreciated the help, as it was a lengthy walk to his hotel. He expected the boy was assisting him in hopes of receiving some payment. However, when he went to pay, the boy refused to take it. The boy told him he was a Boy Scout and Boy Scouts liked doing a good turn to help people.

Boyce asked him about Boy Scouts and was so impressed that he went to visit Baden-Powell to learn more about it. When he returned to America, he brought the Boy Scout plan with him, and since then about 110 million Americans have participated in the Boy Scout program.

Colleges and work places recognize the exceptional achievement of an Eagle Scout. It can give an applicant an advantage over others and there’s an automatic advancement in rank if an Eagle Scout joins the military. The rank of Eagle is an achievement that benefits a person forever.

It’s not an achievement, that says, “I was an Eagle Scout.” Like the Marine who is always a Marine, the Eagle Scout is always an Eagle Scout. John Bennett can forever proudly state, “I am an Eagle Scout.”

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