The Courage of Eagles
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 14:37:05 -0600
If you're not already tired of hearing my stories, here's another.
It's about two Eagle Scouts from different troops and different states.
You may remember Chris Hardesty of Troop 40, Louisville. His illness has
been reported on Scouts-L. Chris passed away on October 6 from brain
cancer at the age of 14. I first knew of him through a Scouts-L post a few
years back when they were soliciting cards and letters to cheer him up.
At that time I had someone from my troop with advanced cancer, 19 year old
Eagle Scout Brent Scarbrough. Doctors didn't expect Brent to survive.
I sent Chris Hardesty, then 11, encouragement through e-mail and letters.
I told him about Brent and also told Brent about Chris. I thought this
new Scout and this older Eagle could help each other since they were
fighting a similar battle. They corresponded with one another. At Loyola
Medical Center in suburban Chicago, Brent was undergoing radiation therapy
and chemotherapy. At Children's Memorial Hospital in Louisville,
Chris was going through chemotherapy and eventually a bone marrow
I learned of two miracles about a year later. Both Chris and Brent were
declared cancer free. It was too good to be true.
Brent, now 22, has been active in Scouting activities and continues to
get stronger. He must go in for routine MRI tests to make sure his
cancer has not returned.
During his remission Chris Hardesty became one of Troop 40's most active
Scouts. It was extremely rare for a Scouting activity to take place without
Chris in attendance. He set a goal for himself, to earn the Eagle Scout
Unfortunately for Chris, his cancer returned. He planned his Eagle
project from a hospital bed this past summer. He always made an effort to
attend every campout, if only to visit for an hour or so. "Be active and
cheerful, rather than withdrawn and tearful" was his motto through all of
On October 20 our troop held a Court of Honor for two new Eagle Scouts,
Patrick McLinden and Timothy Marten. I told several stories that night.
One about a boy who hadn't stayed in Scouting and one month earlier had
been shot 5 times in a gang related shooting (I've already shared that
with the list). I also told the story of Chris and Brent. I tried to
focus on the lessons of personal strength, courage, and determination.
Later in the program I told stories about our two newest Eagle Scouts, which
were much lighter and happier to tell (by then we needed something to
We have a tradition where we read the names and year of each Troop 33
Eagle Scout (which dates back from the 1930's). As we read the names we
light an "Eagle Spirit Candle" for each Eagle. It is impressive to see
nearly 60 candles brightly burning on the stage. It was after this that I
told the story of Brent and Chris. I prefaced the story by reading the
dictionary definition of the word "courage". After the story I introduced
Brent who came forward to light a special "Eagle Spirit Candle" for
Chris Hardesty; Eagle Scout of Troop 40; Louisville, Kentucky.
Chris died less than 48 hours before his own Eagle Court of Honor was to
take place, so we dedicated a part of our Court to honor him. Since he died
before my letter of congratulations reached him, I read that letter at
our Court of Honor as well. I had a tough time reading it.
None of us had ever met Chris. We only know of him because of Scouts-L
and through additional e-mail and letters.
I thought members of this list might appreciate knowing how Scouts-L
touched the lives of two courageous Eagles.
YIS, Cliff Golden
Scoutmaster Troop 33; DeKalb, Illinois
Three Fires Council BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City