INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Drew Bessette, the son of Peter and Annamarie of Incline Village, was awarded Eagle Scout, scouting's highest honor, at Diamond Peak on November 17. Drew earned the Eagle rank in April, but the Court of Honor ceremony provided formal recognition of his achievement.
Family friends, high school friends, and members of Troop 37 attended the near standing-room-only ceremony.
During the ceremony, a video highlighted Drew's growth in scouting. He backpacked at Philmont and sailed at Sea Base, both of which are BSA national camps. He attended numerous summer camps in Oregon and California and served as Senior Patrol Leader, the troop's highest leadership position. At the same time, he worked hard on rank advancement.
To advance, new scouts must fulfill requirements for the Tenderfoot badge, then Second Class, and First Class. Merit badges and several hours of community service are required for the next two ranks - Star and Life. For the final rank, Eagle, the Scout must have earned at least 21 merit badges including required badges covering citizenship, first aid, and fitness.
Perhaps the hardest part of attaining the Eagle Scout rank is the requirement to complete a service project. The scout must plan, organize, lead and manage a task that benefits a nonprofit organization or the community. The project must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, the scoutmaster, the troop committee, and the Boy Scout council.
For Drew's Eagle project, he built eight portable benches for the skiers and snowboarders at Diamond Peak. The Diamond Peak staff places them at the top of the mountain runs or on the lower slopes, depending on the need. The project took 137 hours for Drew and his helpers to complete.
Drew is very grateful to all the members of the community who helped him in scouting. After his Eagle project, he publicly thanked the businesses, nonprofit organizations and community members who helped fund and support the project. Drew, along with the other Troop 37 members, want to convey how grateful they are for all the support they receive from the local community.
At his Eagle ceremony, Drew also thanked those who volunteered their time to make his scouting journey possible. He began with his parents, then turned to Scoutmasters Jim Schmidt, Russell Cory and Michael Pugh. Finally, he rewarded all of Troop 37's trained leaders with the book, "Spirit of Adventure, Eagle Scouts and the Making of America's Future."
The Eagle Scout rank is held for life, which gives rise to the phrase "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle." At Drew's ceremony, all attending Eagle Scouts were asked to come forward and state the year they achieved Eagle. Seven adults stood and all age groups were represented. The longest term was held by Dan Salerno, who earned Eagle in 1947. Ryan Collins, a patrol-mate of Drew, was the youngest Eagle.
This group of Eagle Scouts, along with all those in attendance, are proud of Drew's achievement. Drew represents the Eagle Scout rank very well.