2017 Eagle Scout Honorees
By AMIE ERICKSEN
March 24, 2018
The above description, taken from the Boy Scouts of America Guide to Advancement, applies to thirteen young men who have worked over the course of years to abide by and develop those attributes ascribed to by the Boy Scouts of America in their Oath and Promise. Some of these attributes include duties to God, country and the Scout Law; helping other people at all times; and keeping strong physically, mentally and morally. Now, more than one hundred years later, the following thirteen young men have proven themselves equal to the distinction of Eagle Scout to join with hundreds others in a class of men willing to Be Prepared to offer a Good Turn Daily for neighbors worldwide. These in particular are recognized here because they each belong to the Totem District of the Great Alaska Council, which includes the communities of: Prince of Wales Island; Ketchikan; Metlakatla; Petersburg; and Wrangell.
Carson Andersen, of Ketchikan, became an Eagle Scout in January of 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project involved improvement to the Fawn Mountain Elementary School's landscape, not only conserving its biology and grounds but also making it safer for the school's children to enjoy their outdoor playground. Andersen saw a need for this improvement as he spent the preceding summer in the school's employ and knew that he could provide this lasting service to the children but also that it would show appreciation to the hardworking staff.
Matthew Warner, from POW of Craig, also became an Eagle Scout in January of 2017. The Eagle Scout Service Project he chose to complete was to remove the old and install the new barbecue stands along Lagoon Beach Park. Working closely with city employees, Warner and his crew installed 5 brand new barbecue grills for the enjoyment and use of all. Warner saw a need for this change when he noticed that the grills had become rusty, degraded and some unusable. The improvement to Lagoon Beach Park has made the area more hospitable and invites increased outdoor activity.
Brent Taylor, of Ketchikan, became an Eagle Scout in April 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project was to serve the organization called Women in Safe Homes (W.I.S.H) by organizing an effort to create hygiene kits which can be given to women and children in times of crises and uncertainty. Ultimately, Taylor was able to donate to W.I.S.H one hundred hygiene kits for women, to include items such as shampoo and toothbrushes, and twenty five hygiene kits for infants, to include items such as diapers and washcloths, at a value of approximately $2,000.00.
Brendon Divelbiss, of Ketchikan, also became an Eagle Scout in April 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project benefitted the Ketchikan Rod & Gun Club and their patrons by building and installing a new shooting bench and new target stands as well as a clean up of the gun range. The efforts of Divelbiss and his crew resulted in the removal of three truck loads of debris and trash from the range and a much safer and hospitable environment for visitors. Divelbiss saw the need for renewal when he realized that some of the shooting benches were nearly 45 years old and showing their age. His contribution will be enjoyed by range enthusiasts for years to come.
Jacob King, of Ketchikan, became an Eagle Scout in late April 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project took place in Mesa, AZ, in service to the Starbright Foundation which serves youth and children in shelter homes. King's service included collecting and donating needed items by the Foundation such as bottled water, toilet paper and paper towels. King and his crew acquired enough goods to fill the garage of their beneficiary's home. Although asking people he didn't know for donations was difficult at times, King reports that it became easier to do as he got better at explaining the importance of the cause he was supporting.
Charles Christensen, of Petersburg, became an Eagle Scout in September 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project benefitted the Petersburg Lutheran Church and its visitors by designing, building and installing a bench at the base of the stairs leading up to its gathering hall facility. Christensen saw a need for this service when he noticed how often elderly patrons needed a rest nearby the stairs but didn't have a place to sit. To embellish the bench and give it more meaning for the setting, Christensen designed it to be decorated with religious symbols pertinent to the Lutheran faith. His beautiful contribution, made and installed with the crew he collected from family and friends, is not only functional for physical rest but uplifts the patrons who enjoy it.
Anders Christensen, of Petersburg, became an Eagle Scout in September 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project involved designing, building and installing a bench and planter boxes in the Petersburg School District's Community Garden. The Garden was without any seating and Christensen saw a need for this as classes are taught in the facility. He also determined that additional, wooden planting boxes would be desirable and will encourage more space for growing plant life. Along with his crew, Christensen collectively spent forty-eight hours providing beauty and function to the Petersburg Community Garden.
Flahavan (Van) Abbott, of Petersburg, became an Eagle Scout in September 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project was to create a more enjoyable and recreational area for people to hold gatherings and be on the grounds at Saint Catherine's of Sienna Catholic Church in Petersburg. Abbott and his crew removed an old, wooden seating area and a deteriorating tree stump from the property and then built and installed a new wooden picnic table from donated lumber. Abbott's efforts to improve the property have encouraged outdoor experiences and have already provided the setting for family and community gatherings.
Preston McLaren, from the community of Ketchikan, became an Eagle Scout in November 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project benefitted the Ketchikan Misty Fiords Ranger District and patrons of the Ward Lake day-use facilities. McLaren organized and led the effort to remove the old and install new barbecue grills in different locations, in all placing nine new grills. Along the way there were changes to McLaren's plan, but he navigated them as a leader does and demonstrated the ability to adapt. With these new facilities being improved, patrons can enjoy the outdoors more comfortably for years to come.
Zachary Tighe, of Ketchikan, became an Eagle Scout in November 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project was to repair and stain the five benches that sit in Whale Park located in downtown Ketchikan. These iconic benches, known for their whale-shape designs, were falling into disrepair and beginning to deteriorate from exposure. Tighe decided that preservation was needed, and working with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, assembled a crew and materials to replace boards, sand the benches, give a new stain and finish as well as a clean up effort on the flower beds in the park. For the millions of visitors to Whale Park each year, Tighe has provided a welcome that Ketchikan can continue to be proud of.
Britton Erickson, of Petersburg, became an Eagle Scout in December 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project chose the Head Start Preschool, which meets at the First Presbyterian Church of Petersburg, where Erickson saw a need that the children had when they would go outside to play: equipment. Erickson organized and built ,with his team, a new structure that is safe and durable for the enjoyment of three- and four-year old children who attend the school. To date, the playhouse has been a ship, a castle and a fort in the imaginations of these young students and the Head Start Preschool looks forward to many years of safe, outdoor recreation for learning and adventure.
Christopher Warner, of Craig, became an Eagle Scout in December 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project benefitted the local Craig Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by improving the flower beds on their grounds. Warner saw a conservation need for the old flower beds, as their boards were deteriorating and the soil for the beds was being washed out. Warner organized and oversaw the effort to replace and build new wooden structures for the four large structures, as well as orchestrating a clean up effort around the building and pruning of the existing shrubbery and plant life. The beneficiary is pleased with the outcome and the community can commend Warner for his foresight in improving the look of the property.
Lastly, Nicholas Williams, from the community of Metlakatla, became an Eagle Scout in November of 2017. His Eagle Scout Service Project has been selected as the Totem District nominee to advance in the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award process. For his Project, Williams chose to shine a light on suicide awareness. To do this, he collected the advice of those around him and decided to create a reflection bench to be installed at the local Metlakatla High School. First, he and his crew of Metlakatla High School students harvested cedar trees local to the area, stripped and shaped the trees into logs and built them into a log-style bench. After applying a finish to the bench, the school shop department created a metal plaque to attach to the bench that showcases the school mascot as well as these words: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Formal installation of the bench highlighted awareness for suicide prevention in a dedication service.
Many congratulations to these thirteen Eagle Scouts! Thank you for your dedication to your communities and living the Scout Oath in your everyday lives.
By way of invitation, on behalf of Totem District and Scouter's statewide: calling all Eagle Scouts! Your mentoring and experience are welcome and needed in your local Scouting units as well as at the district level. To accept please contact your local unit or your district commissioner, Dennis Olsen; contact information can be obtained at www.scoutingalaska.org. Totem District is in need of district committee members, commissioners, merit badge counselors and individuals willing to share their specific areas of expertise.
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