Ashfield Scout earns highest rank
Eagle Scout Brendom W. Gray of Ashfield Boy Scout Troop 18 stands beside a table he lashed together out of wood during his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony.
From left: Eagle Scout Brendon Gray and Boy Scout Eli Willey build a picnic table to be placed by a brook on a trail that Gray created in Ashfield, as his Eagle Scout project, last summer.
ASHFIELD — Boy Scout Troop 18 now has its first Eagle Scout in nearly 30 years.
Brendon W. Gray’s achievement was celebrated by 95 Scouts, family members and friends in a recent awards ceremony.
To earn the Eagle designation, last summer Gray built a small hiking trail and a picnic table off an adjoining trail built by the Ashfield Trail Committee, off Smith Road.
“I just thought it was a beautiful spot, near a brook and a stone bridge, where hikers might like to stop and eat their lunch,” he said.
Gray worked with the Ashfield Trails Committee on a design and received guidance from Dwight Scott, a carpenter and former Troop 18 Scoutmaster, on how to design his picnic table.
Materials for the picnic table were donated by the Ashfield Hardware Store and Cummington Supply. He built the picnic table with help from Boy Scout Eli Willey and had trail help from the trails committee and family.
“Through my journey as a Scout, I have learned a lot about wilderness survival, the importance of working with others your own age to accomplish a goal, and the sense of community one learns to appreciate while working with local residents,” he said.
Eagle Scouts Timothy Gray of Indiana and Jonathan Gray of Illinois traveled to Ashfield for their cousin’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony. Previous Eagle Scouts from Troop 18 also attended, including: Doug Cranson, Fred Howes, Dave Christianson, Richard Foster, Roger Provost and Silbert Lanoue.
Gray attended Cub Scouts for several years and joined the Boy Scouts when he was in the seventh grade.
With his troop, Gray hiked the Long Trail in Vermont, nearly completing the 273-mile footpath during week-long summer trips.
A recent graduate of the Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Gray plans to attend Greenfield Community College this fall and transfer to the University of Massachusetts Amherst to study civil engineering.
“Eagle Scout” is the highest rank attainable in the Boys Scouts of America program, and only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts have earned that designation since the first award was given out in 1912, according to the Eagle Scout Association. To earn it, the Boy Scout must earn at least 21 badges, demonstrating experience and skill in such things as first aid, local and international citizenship, communications, environmental science, fitness, emergency preparedness, camping, and others.
Eagle Scouts hold that title for life, and famous Eagle Scouts include Astronaut Neil Armstrong, U.S. President Gerald R. Ford, former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Apollo 13 Commander James A. Lovell Jr., former presidential candidate H. Ross Perot, and Steve Fossett, the first person to circumnavigate Earth solo in a balloon and an airplane.
You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
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