Death of Eagles...personal words
Sun, 29 Oct 1995 02:18:00 -0600
Within a span of two days, I've learned that three Eagle Scouts have left
our Earth for better places alongside their Creators. As I watched CNN with
many of you, and felt a sickening knot in the root of my stomach as I heard
the descriptions of how one died (and as I read newspaper accounts and
postings here in the following days), it made me think inward as to what
could I say if given the chance to do so, to the parents of those potential
youth leaders that left us too soon before they had a chance to impact our
society with their leadership.
More importantly, what can be done to insure that their family losses are
appropriately remembered by those involved in the education, recreation and
leadership of youth.
There was Adam Vickerson, a 19 year-old Assistant Scoutmaster and Eagle
Scout, whom died Wednesday at his home Maine after a long fight with Cystic
Fibrosis. According to Dawn, he cherished his Scouting experiences and
despite his limitations, did as much as he could to make things better for
him and others around him.
Jeff Clark, who just turned 16, earned his Eagle Scout badge on Tuesday
night after dreaming about it a for such a long time. On Wednesday, he,
along with another person, were fatalities in a traffic accident involving
the school bus he and the others were riding in and a commuter train in a
suburb of Chicago. Marc Solomon provided us with a newspaper account, in
which his father, Dennis stated that "When asked at various points in his
life what was the most important thing to him, his family was always at the
top of his list."
Then, there was Everett Morse, a 14 year-old Eagle Scout from Michigan that
was killed accidently by his stepfather after he returned home from a party
Wednesday night. Scouting, according to Mark, was important to him because
it was one of the ways he wanted to escape the project housing in which he
and his three siblings lived in.
All three of these young men had something in common: a personal drive to do
as much as they could for others while at the same time to better
themselves. Everett's Eagle project was to conduct a food and clothing
drive to benefit those living in the downtown subsidized housing area. Jeff
mowed lawns for extra cash in his community. Adam worked at a lobster farm
just to meet people and enjoy their company, despite the hard work that left
him many times gasping for the air we take for granted. All three were
described by those that knew them as hardworking, studious, and outgoing.
Qualities that Eagle Scouts, by their nature, all have in common with each
I too, paused before leaving for home yesterday morning to pray for the
families of these three young men. To the families of each Eagle, I offer
my deepest symphaties and a Scout salute to the lives of each Scout. They
made a difference in their short period on this Earth. I feel that when
young people die so suddendly, it is because somehow their tasks on this
Earth is done. We should look back at what they have done and how they did
it, so that we can show others that good things can be done, no matter how
short the time is in which to get it done may be. What we will see, in all
three cases, are identification of a community need, careful planning, and a
cheerful spirit in which their work was carried out in. You have much to be
proud of your sons for. We are equally as proud of their contributions to
their communities and to your families through their involvement in our
In the Eagle Charge, we tell them that "the torch you now bear is not just
yours, but it is also ours". We have entrusted them with learning to follow
and lead others, and they didn't let us down. When they fall, however, it
that should come to their side to hold that torch upward and to keep moving
While we feel their losses, and mourn with their families even though we
have never met them, we all feel, as the many messages here indicated, a
need to somehow not make this a trivial matter, especially after several
earning our highest youth honor all passed away on nearly the same day.
Lisa and Professor Beaver (Mike Bowman) both suggested some ways in which we
can make the loss of these Scouts a positive experience in the lives of
their fellow Scouts and of Scouters everywhere. May I suggest that those
that can influnce local Roundtable Chairs, to close their Roundtable
meetings (which are being held traditionally in the USA the first week of
each month, to introduce that month's program to those in attendance) with
the lighting of a single candle, and as Mike suggested, the singing of the
traditional youth spirital "Kum Bah Ya" in all three verses, before we
depart from the meeting? In this very visual way, we can honor their lives,
as well as others that have passed onward before them, as well as to
emphasize that youth program families are not limited by District or Council
boundaries, or for that matter, by national divisions.
I ask that we do the same for our unit or group meetings this week as well.
Then, I ask that we take it one step forward. I understand that the first
Saturday in November has been set aside as "National Service Day". During
this day, I am asking that EVERY adult (and especially every Eagle Scout)
bond together, either with youth members or with other Scouters, and find a
way to be of positive service to some youth group or organization (outside
of our own) during this day. Let's put into practice what Jeff, Adam and
Everett and others before them, have learned through our youth programs.
Our papers, our television sets, our lives are full of examples of
negativity, of sorrow, of despair between individuals and groups of
individuals. Let's remind our youth leaders -- and through our positive
actions, remind our communities -- that this nation as well as world are
also full of examples of optimism, of pride, and of willingness to put aside
petty differences for the betterment of others.
Jeff, Adam and Everett have given us the tools in which to do so...their
personal examples and lives. Let's remember them as we move FORWARD in
making sure that they -- and the program they represented proudly and
gallantly -- are honored by our actions for others.
(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle) (
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