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LIFE Eagle Scout Musher

Matthew Failor Tests His Skills in Alaska’s Iditarod

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: A Salute to NESA’s Bill Steele Order of the Arrow Turns 100 Meet NESA’s World Explorers

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NESA Jamboree Belt Buckle

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NESA Life Member Jamboree Belt Buckle

A special brass life member buckle was issued and numbered sequentially from 1 to 2,000. You must be a NESA life member to purchase this item. To become a life member, go to today.

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Eagles’ Call

On the Cover

Eagle Scout Matthew Failor and his blue-eyed pal, Fionn, take a break from a long day of training in Sheep Creek Valley, Juneau, Alaska. Failor and his team of Alaskan huskies compete in the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race every March. Photo by W. Garth Dowling.


NESA COMMITTEE Rick Bragga, Dr. David Briscoe, Howard Bulloch, Nick Dannemiller, Clark W. Fetridge, Marshall Hollis, Dr. Ken King, Dr. Michael Manyak, Lou Paulson, Rich Pfaltzgraff, Todd R. Plotner, Congressman Pete Sessions, Frank Tsuru, Joe Weingarten


Regents consist of more than 600 life members of NESA who are recipients of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. MAGAZINE DIVISION EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Michael Goldman DESIGN DIRECTOR Eric Ottinger PHOTOGRAPHY DIRECTOR W. Garth Dowling MANAGING EDITOR Paula Murphey SENIOR WRITER Aaron Derr SENIOR EDITOR Bryan Wendell ASSOCIATE EDITORS Gretchen Sparling Clay Swartz SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR Bryan Wursten DIGITAL EDITOR Keith Faber COPY EDITOR Ray Rose EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Adryn Shackelford



VOL. 40, NO. 4

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SPECIAL CONTRIBUTORS Lois Albertus, Johnny D. Boggs, Teresa Brown, Keith Courson, Ryan Larson, Jeff Laughlin, Mark Ray ART DIRECTORS Elizabeth Hardaway Morgan Kevin Hurley PHOTO EDITOR Edna J. Lemons



The Last Great Race By Gretchen Sparling

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race pits man and dogs against the brutal conditions of Alaska’s backcountry. Learn more about how Eagle Scout musher Matthew Failor faces these challenges thanks to his Scouting training.


Keep Calm and Cave On By Mark Ray

Eagles’ Call salutes Bill Steele, who recently retired from his role as director of the National Eagle Scout Association. Read about Steele’s contributions to the BSA and his passion for exploring the world’s deepest caves.


Departments 2 News From the Trailhead


3 Members 6 Community 8 Lifestyle 18 Achievements 25 Closing Shot Eagles’ Call magazine (ISSN 2373-7026) is published four times a year by the Boy Scouts of America, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079. Issues are Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Copyright © 2015 by the Boy Scouts of America. All rights thereunder reserved; anything appearing in Eagles’ Call magazine may not be reprinted either wholly or in part without written permission. For submission guidelines, go to Postmaster: Send address changes to Eagles’ Call magazine, P.O. Box 152401, Irving, TX 75015-2401. Address changes: Include your name, new and old addresses, birth date and the number printed above your name on the address label. Send other correspondence to NESA, S322 Boy Scouts of America, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079 or Printed and bound by Quad/Graphics.

14 Visit NESA online to submit your Eagle Scout projects, see more Eagle achievements, complete scholarship information and more.


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11/21/14 9:13 AM

News From the Trailhead


Eagles’ Call

From the President: My Journey With a Giant, Bill Steele

Occasionally, we are blessed to meet and work with a gifted person whose talent, drive and passion allow for transformative change in an organization. In this case, I’m describing the tenure of Bill Steele as director of the National Eagle Scout Association. I became a member of the NESA committee in 2000, and Bill was named director of NESA in 2007. I was then named president of NESA the following year. We quickly discovered a shared entrepreneurial spirit and drive for excellence that led us to a commonality of purpose: to quickly move NESA forward and with more initiatives than had been attempted in its previous 35 years of history. Much of our early story has been captured in the book Four Percent: The Story of Uncommon Youth in a Century of American Life by Michael S. Malone. Among the game-changing initiatives that came to fruition during Bill’s time at NESA was the first Eagle Scout search, which found roughly 900,000 Eagles whose contact information was not known to the BSA, and publishing four yearbooks with two more underway. The combination of the search and books has increased NESA membership by more than 25 percent and helped fund an increase in annual NESA scholarships from $224,000 in 2007 to $645,500 in 2014. NESA also voted to fund $1 million toward the largest BSA scholarship, the $50,000-per-year NESA STEM scholarship. Additionally, the NESA World Explorers program and the endowed Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award were launched and have exploded in popularity and changed the face of what NESA represents to Eagles. The number of NESA council committees has expanded from 70 to more than 220, and the new NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award has taken its place alongside the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award as one of the most prestigious recognitions awarded by the BSA. Supporting councils has been at the core of Bill’s tenure. NESA must provide value to all councils, and under Bill’s leadership this accelerated at a pace only dreamed of just a decade ago. (Read more about Bill’s contributions to NESA and more on page 14.) One of our favorite projects was working with famed BSA artist Joseph Csatari to create an iconic painting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Eagle Scout in 2013. An all-day meeting with Csatari in his New Jersey studio was an experience neither of us will ever forget. Bill possesses intelligence, creativity and a gregarious personality that are respected by his fellow professionals and volunteers, and have greatly benefited NESA. It is almost impossible to say “no” to Bill! He exudes a positive attitude in all situations. I have gone caving with Bill (shown in the photo above), and I can tell you that there is no one else on the planet with whom I would rather explore a really dark hole in the ground. With his recent retirement, Bill is now focused on several world-class cave explorations and will be writing and producing video of his expeditions. Retirement? Hardly! There is always another adventure around the corner for Bill Steele. Scouting will miss you, Bill, and we could not be prouder of your legacy. From the Eagle Trail,


Glenn Adams

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MEMBERS // Order of the Arrow

Happy Birthday, OA The Order of the Arrow Turns 100



hundred years ago this summer, Dr. E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson founded what would become Scouting’s national honor society, the Order of the Arrow. In celebration of a century of service to Scouting and the broader community, the Order of the Arrow is embarking on a series of special events throughout 2015.

ARROWTOUR: Shortly after the BSA’s National Annual Meeting in May, four teams of Arrowmen will begin traveling the country to visit Scout camps, highadventure bases and local council service centers. At each site, they’ll set up a small campus that combines historical displays and videos with interactive activities like belt branding and obstacle courses. The ArrowTour teams will also conduct an

The theme of the celebration is “Centuries of Service,” a reminder that the celebration is as much about the OA’s second century as the first. “The whole thing is about looking back but using that as a lens to see forward,” says Distinguished Eagle Scout Ray Capp, who has chaired the National Order of the Arrow Committee since 2009. “I want young people to look at our history and be encouraged that they can make a difference. If we can use history to empower today’s kids to make new history, I would just be tickled pink.”

evening program for Scouts and complete a service project to benefit the local council. The idea behind ArrowTour is to reach as many of the Order’s more than 172,000 active members as possible, especially the 94 percent who won’t be at the National Order of the Arrow Conference. Non-

MAJOR EVENTS So what will the OA’s centennial celebration look like? There will be plenty of commemorative patches, of course, but there will be much more. The celebration will be built around three major events: ArrowTour, the National Order of the Arrow Conference and One Day of Service.

Arrowmen and Scouting alumni will also be welcome to stop by and learn more about the Order of the Arrow. NATIONAL ORDER OF THE ARROW CONFERENCE: Next up will be the National Order of the Arrow Conference. Held at Michigan State University from Aug. 3 to 8, NOAC is expected to attract 15,000 Arrowmen, making it the BSA’s second-largest event (after the national jamboree). During the six-day conference, youth and adult members will participate in leadership training sessions, enjoy recreational opportunities, and attend evening shows full of theatrics and special effects. As it did at the last NOAC in 2012, NESA will have a major presence this summer, hosting VIP Eagle Scouts and helping Arrowmen learn more about the benefits of becoming an Eagle Scout and a NESA member. ONE DAY OF SERVICE: After NOAC, the Order of the Arrow will focus on community service by helping the BSA launch a yearlong community-service effort. Details are still being worked out, but the plan will include collaborations across the country among local councils, OA lodges and community partners.

OA History, Briefly

In 1915, Dr. E. Urner Goodman and his assistant, Carroll A. Edson, founded the Order of the Arrow at the Treasure Island Camp of the Philadelphia Council. It became an official program experiment of the BSA in 1922 and was approved by the national council in 1934. In 1948, the Order of the Arrow was officially integrated into the Scouting movement. For decades, the OA focused on camping and camp promotion, but it expanded its focus in 1998 to include broader service to Scouting and the community. Among the OA’s recent major accomplishments was 2008’s ArrowCorps5, the BSA’s largest service project since World War II and the largest service project that has ever benefited the U.S. Forest Service.

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11/20/14 9:05 AM

MEMBERS // World Explorers / NESA Committee Grants


The Year of the Explorer

LARRY GUMINA, Eagle Scout Biologist MIDDLETOWN, N.J.

Over the summer, Larry spent two weeks at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the eastern Ecuador Amazon rain forest. While there, he assisted in the installation and monitoring of an important camera trap to document the diversity of wildlife for future research.

science-minded Eagle Scouts in the field with world-renowned researchers. “It is very important to expose these young leaders and potential future scientists to the variety and potential of exploration as an adult,” says NESA Vice President Dr. Michael J. Manyak. “They become very excited when they realize they do not have to curb these interests when they leave

ALEX HOUSTON, Antarctic Sustainability Eagle Scout LAWRENCE, KAN.

Last spring, Alex visited Antarctica with noted British explorer Sir Robert Swan as part of Expedition 2041. He spent two weeks learning about the continent’s ecology and wildlife and the importance of renewable energy in shaping Antarctica’s future.

NESA Director Named Eagle Scout Dustin Farris has been named director of the National Eagle Scout Association. He succeeds Bill Steele, who retired Aug. 31. (Read our profile of Steele on page 14.) Before becoming NESA director, Farris spent four years as major gifts director with the BSA Foundation. His Scouting career includes time with the Oregon Trail Council and Ore-Ida Council and as Scout executive of the Northeast Iowa Council. Farris will work closely with NESA President Glenn A. Adams, a volunteer. 4


Scouting.” (An expert in expedition medicine, Manyak knows just how exciting such expeditions can be. He has dived to the wreck of the Titanic, ridden camels in the Gobi Desert and led a scientific expedition to the Ndoki rain forest in the Congo Basin, among many other adventures.) Here’s an introduction to the 2014 World Explorers.


A video and filmmaking intern, Jacob spent six weeks last fall aboard Dr. Robert Ballard’s research ship, E/V Nautilus, helping run the cameras on two remote-operated vehicles as they explored the ocean. Jacob had previously worked on a National Geographic Channel show about the Nautilus, so he jumped at the chance to join Ballard’s Corps of Exploration. So what does the future hold for the World Explorers Program? Plenty, says Manyak. “My vision is to expand the number of choices for Eagles to pursue by offering expeditions to the Arctic, the Amazon, the Galápagos, to South Africa for paleontology, to the oceans for marine biology and oceanography, and to space with NASA,” he says. “NESA provides very fertile ground to seek candidates for these exciting programs.”

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very Eagle Scout knows that Scouting can take you places. But did you know it can take you to an Amazonian research station, the bottom of the ocean or Earth’s most remote continent? In 2014, those were among the destinations of participants in NESA’s World Explorers Program. Launched in 2012, the program puts


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Jamboree Staff // MEMBERS

Help Wanted



ave you made plans for the summer of 2017 yet? It’s not too early to consider serving on the 2017 National Jamboree staff. Scheduled to run July 19 to 28, the event will be the second jamboree held at the BSA’s 10,600acre Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. Staff costs and other details have not been finalized, but you can already go online to complete an interest survey and request more information. Just visit and click the Interest Survey link. After you log in with your membership ID or my.Scouting credentials, you’ll be able to choose from potential staff jobs that include aquatics, information technology and warehousing. Once you complete the survey, you’ll be signed up to receive the latest jamboree news. At the Summit website, you can also learn about some enhancements that are


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being made based on the 2013 Jamboree. Among them: shorter walks to work, improved lunch options, better communication, more time off, and a staff village where staff members can relax and have

fun in the company of their peers. One thing won’t change, however: the chance to help tens of thousands of Scouts and Venturers have the experience of a lifetime.




* Promotion ends 1/31/15. Certain exclusions may apply. Not valid on game-used items, Derek Jeter signed items, sale or outlet items, or events.

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11/18/14 9:32 AM

COMMUNITY // Eagle Scout Projects

A Heart for Veterans

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The 2014 Western Region Adams Award Winner

IDENTIFYING A PROJECT: When Ray approached city officials about potential projects, they immediately mentioned the idea of a Purple Heart memorial. “The city said, ‘We have no premade plans or drawings. We would like you, the Eagle Scout, to come up with everything regarding this memorial,’ ” Ray recalls. “For me, it was really special to make it from scratch.” ABOUT THE DESIGN: Ray’s memorial consists of a granite slab that is 53 inches wide and 32 inches high mounted on a granite base. The Purple Heart medal appears on each side, surrounded by the phrase “Selfless Sacrifice in Defense of Liberty” and 21 stars (emblematic of a 21-gun salute). Six military emblems — representing the Department of Defense and the five service branches — complete the design. Ray originally imagined a more geometric design but found a slab that he felt evoked the mountains around the memorial site. “I really liked that kind of natural, quiet ruggedness,” he says. HARD BARGAINS: The memorial cost less than $2,000, thanks to bargains Ray negotiated with several stone-processing specialists. His secret? “Stop being afraid and just go The design for the granite slab featured at the park’s memorial displays hand-etched images representing the Purple Heart award and the U.S. military. Eagle Scout Ray Solis Jr. called upon members of his troop and the local community to help clear the site for his project.


Eagle Scout Ray Solis Jr. designed a granite monument in a San Marcos, Calif., park to honor recipients of the U.S. military’s Purple Heart award.



erhaps nothing symbolizes devotion to country more than the Purple Heart. America’s longest-standing military award, the Purple Heart has gone to some 1.8 million men and women who have been killed or wounded in combat. To further honor these heroes, Ray Solis Jr. developed a unique Purple Heart memorial in the community of San Marcos, Calif. His project, which took 1,080 hours, earned him the 2014 Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award for the Western Region.


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Eagle Scout Projects // COMMUNITY for it,” he says. “That’s what I was always taught to do.”



VETERANS’ REACTIONS: Area veterans rallied around the project. Many attended both the October 2013 dedication and Ray’s Eagle Scout court of honor last May. The members of Chapter 493 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart even invited Ray and his father to ride on their float at a Fourth of July parade. “Ray has learned through firsthand experience about the power of giving back,” Ray Sr. says. “It’s more than just a granite memorial.”

For a child, getting a CT scan or MRI can be a terrifying experience. To make the process less scary, Mason Stoltz designed and built 23 model scanners for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Each wooden model allows a child to “scan” a doll to see how the process works. Or not see it, as was the case with a visually impaired child who put a doll through one of Mason’s scanners. “She was able to feel what it would be like,” Mason says. The scanners were actually Mason’s second project idea. The first, building new music-therapy carts, seemed too ambitious for an Eagle project. Instead of dropping that idea, he worked with Children’s Hospital to secure a $20,000 donation from Best Buy to buy them.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: At an antique show several months ago, a veteran and his fiancée, whom Ray had never met, approached him to say thanks. “They said, ‘We’re actually planning to have our wedding ceremony at your memorial,’ ” he recalls. “That was just incredible.” NEXT STEPS: The memorial is in a section of Walnut Grove Park that will eventually become a dedicated Purple Heart park. During the construction of the Purple Heart memorial, Ray kept his volunteers on task as they completed 1,080 hours of work. Local veterans joined the Eagle Scout at the memorial’s dedication.

Never Forget


Remembering the Victims of a Century-Old Atrocity

Most Americans are unaware of the Armenian Genocide, which began 100 years ago this April. But thanks to one Eagle Scout’s service project, awareness of this tragedy will increase and remain visible for members of St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale, Ariz. For his project, Noubar Armen Manoogian, a secondgeneration Armenian American and member of the church, created the Armenian Genocide Memorial Walkway from a parking lot to the church building. It is one of just a handful of U.S. memorials to the genocide. Stamped into the 68-foot concrete path are the names of the 113 towns where 1.5 million Armenians were killed

In 2008, Hurricane Ike hit Galveston Island and caused millions of dollars in damage to the Galveston Railroad Museum. Jordan Cartwright, then a Webelos Scout, visited the museum in the hurricane’s aftermath and committed to helping with its restoration when he got old enough. Five years later, he carried through on that commitment by leading the restoration of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe No. 1642 caboose. Built in 1927, the all-steel, end-cupola caboose was restored to its original appearance. The project took nine weekends and more than 500 hours of service from 42 volunteers. It also required Jordan and his family to commute 220 miles each weekend from their home in Austin. All told, they logged 5,668 miles — all of them, sadly, on highways instead of on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.

Eagle Scout Noubar Armen Manoogian’s heritage inspired him to construct a walkway honoring Armenians who were killed in the Eastern European country’s genocide in the early 1900s.

between 1915 and 1923. To come up with the list of towns, Noubar did extensive research and consulted with Dr. Richard G. Hovannisian, a professor of Armenian history at UCLA. Hovannisian, an expert on the Armenian Genocide, wrote in Remembrance and Denial: The Case of the Armenian Genocide that “denial is the final phase of genocide.” Noubar’s project embodies defiance instead. Along the sides of the walkway are these words: “Martyred For Our Faith In These Places, Here We Worship Still.”

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11/10/14 7:27 AM

LIFESTYLE // Survival Expert Kevin Reeve

Wilderness Survivor Eagle Scout Kevin Reeve


n the early 1990s, Eagle Scout Kevin Reeve earned a two-month sabbatical after five years of working at Apple and fled California’s Silicon Valley for the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. There, he took a class from legendary outdoorsman Tom Brown Jr., whose 1978 book, The Tracker, he had recently devoured. The class, he says, “really smacked me on the side of the head.” He realized that his future lay in the outdoors, not in a cubicle. All he had to do was figure out how to make a living having fun. His opportunity came a couple of years later, when Brown recruited him to run the

coach to survival guru seems an odd one until you consider the Scouting side of the equation. Growing up in Bountiful, Utah, Reeve had what he calls a “magnificent Scouting experience.” Troop 108, which met in an old log cabin, went camping every month — rain or shine, snow or hail. “If it was cold, we did winter camping,” he says. “It just fed my appetite for outdoor adventure.” Reeve became an Eagle Scout in the early ’70s and never left the program (aside from two years as an LDS missionary and four years as a college student). He became a Scoutmaster shortly after he got married and has served in that role for more than a

The Scouts even got to experience what Reeve calls “mock trapping” by creating and baiting live traps that wouldn’t harm their prey. (If they were successful, they earned a can of tuna.) Reeve’s troop in California also benefited from his job at Apple. At the time, the company wasn’t recycling toner cartridges or aluminum cans, so Reeve set up a recycling program to fund troop activities. “It was the first recycling program Apple ever had, and it was all funding my Scout troop,” he says. “We bought a lot of gear; we were really well equipped.” Of course, the gear he bought was not as important as the skills he taught — skills he now shares with hundreds of non-Scouts every year.


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Staying Safe: Top Travel Tips from Kevin Reeve


quarter-century in three different troops. As you might expect, Reeve’s Scouts have benefited from his survival expertise. During two summers, he led Scouts on weeklong survival expeditions on which they carried nothing but a knife, a blanket and a couple of cups of rice in a tube sock. Under his watchful eye, the Scouts purified water, built shelters and searched out edible plants. “Some of it wasn’t very good, but it was edible,” he says.


Tracker School. “I worked as director of the school for eight years and then decided to go out on my own,” he says. A decade ago, he founded onPoint Tactical, which trains Navy SEALs and other elite groups, corporate executives, thrill-seekers and select civilians in urban survival skills. If you need to know how to escape from a car trunk, jimmy a set of handcuffs or shake off a pursuer, Reeve is your man. Reeve’s transformation from executive

How can you stay safe in an unfamiliar environment? Reeve offers these tips: 1. Put your cellphone in your pocket in transition areas — from your hotel room to the elevator, from the elevator to the parking garage or taxi stand, from your car to the subway. “You see people turn into zombies while they’re traveling,” Reeve says. “Pay attention to who’s around you. The very act of doing that puts you at far less risk of becoming a victim.” 2. Get to know the territory, including safe and unsafe neighborhoods and the best routes between your hotel and office. “In a lot of cities, if you go two blocks too far in one direction, you end up in a very bad neighborhood,” he says. 3. Let people know where you’ll be. Just like when you’re backpacking, leave an agenda with your loved ones or coworkers so they know when it’s time to worry. “If you change your agenda or do something unusual, leave word of where you’re going and what you’re doing,” he says.

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Los Angeles Legal Eagles / Spotted on Staten Island / A Youthful Silver Antelope // LIFESTYLE

Legal Eagles

Law Firm Eagles Flock Together




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fter a stint at the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, Eagle Scout Vince Farhat knew just what he was looking for in his next position. “I wanted to be at a firm that offered an excellent platform for litigation, but I also wanted to be at a firm that valued community service,” he says. “Because of my experience as a Scout, I’ve always believed that, as one person said, community service is the rent you pay for your space on Earth.” Farhat found what he was looking for at Holland & Knight, a 23-city firm that not only has a reputation for community service but also has a special affinity group for Eagle Scouts. Launched after Distinguished Eagle Scout William Sessions joined the firm in 2000, the informal group helps Eagle Scouts across the firm connect with each other. “When I joined the firm, I networked with my fellow Eagles in addition to meeting with people in my practice group,” Farhat says. But the affinity group is about more than in-house networking. Via email, members who are currently involved in Scouting share ideas about what they’re working on. And in 2012, the LA-based members helped launch Legal Eagles, a group that helps support the Los Angeles Area Council. This past November, the Legal Eagles hosted their second annual Law Merit Badge Day. Held at Loyola Law School, the program helped nearly 100 Scouts from Southern California earn the Law merit badge. Practicing attorneys and law-enforcement officers — most of them Eagle Scouts — led the program, which ended in a mock trial presided over by retired Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Connor. Some Scouts served as witnesses, some as trialteam members and the rest as jurors. Will some of those Scouts grow up to be lawyers? Perhaps, but that wasn’t the program’s goal. “If I can inspire a Scout to go to law school, that’s terrific,” Farhat says. “But if I can inspire a Scout to be a better citizen, that’s even better.”

In the Wild Sighted in the City Editor’s Note: Eagle Scout badges show up in the most surprising places, from ships to statues to stained-glass windows. If you find an Eagle badge or other Eagle Scout symbol “in the wild,” send us a picture and tell us its story. We might publish it in a future issue of Eagles’ Call. Send submissions to In 2014, the Greater New York Councils began installing marble plaques at the sites of all Eagle Scout projects. At no cost to Scouts or their troops, council staff members seek permission from property owners, order the plaques from the BSA and even send a camp ranger to install them. One of the first plaques went up at the Church of St. Roch on Staten Island, where

Starting Young Eagle Scout Andrew Miller


he BSA’s premier awards for adult volunteers are the Silver Beaver (council level), Silver Antelope (regional level) and Silver Buffalo (national level). While none of the awards has an age requirement, most recipients tend to have at least a little silver in their hair. Not true of Eagle Scout Andrew Miller, who received the Silver Antelope from the Northeast Region last spring at the age of 32. An Atlanta native who lives in Philadelphia, Miller managed to squeeze a lot of Scouting into his college and graduate-school years. He spent his summers on camp staff, he commuted to Georgia to take Wood Badge training and he created a merit badge university at Harvard that is still in operation. Early in his time at Harvard, Miller attended a district committee meeting to find ways to serve. When he volunteered to teach at a planned merit badge university, the district activities chair recruited him to run it instead. Miller wanted to hold the program at Harvard, and creating a student organiza-

Anthony Santoro of Troop 2 refurbished a small grotto. According to Scoutmaster Tom Lynch, the grotto, which faces Port Richmond Avenue, hadn’t been properly cared for since the 1970s. Now, thanks to the Greater New York Councils, both parishioners and passers-by can learn more about Santoro’s effort to clean up a notable monument.

tion to sponsor it (and get classroom space) seemed like the easiest plan. So Miller rounded up nine other Eagle Scouts and founded Harvard Friends of Scouting. The first merit badge university, held in 2002, attracted about 70 Scouts and focused on Eagle-required merit badges. Soon, however, the program quadrupled in size and shifted its focus to elective merit badges. A lecturer in earth and planetary sciences taught Geology, a chaplain from Harvard’s Memorial Chapel taught Public Speaking, university police officers taught Crime Prevention, and so forth. “It seemed like an activity like that should be focused on unique capabilities of Harvard and the staff we were able to draw together,” Miller says. Along the way, Miller also developed a first-year camper curriculum for National Camping School and served on the 2005 National Scout Jamboree staff. At an initial jamboree staff meeting that year, he was asked how someone so young could deal with a bunch of grizzled Scouters. “I said, ‘I have a degree in paleontology, so I know how to handle fossils,’ ” he recalls. “And they said, ‘You’ll do just fine.’ ” He has, indeed.


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T S A L E H T E C A R T A E R G parling


n Bethel, Alaska, on the edge of the frozen Kuskokwim River, Eagle Scout Matthew Failor stood poised to face off against 20 of the best mushers in the world. The then28-year-old Ohio native had witnessed the sport of sled-dog racing from the sidelines, working for several years as a dog handler for four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser and Matt Hayashida, who’s also a top Iditarod competitor. But Failor had yet to toe the start line of an official long-distance race. It was Buser, owner of Alaska’s Happy Trails Kennel, who encouraged the newcomer to try his own hand at racing. And so Failor — shepherding 12 of Happy Trails’ young B-Team dogs — took his place in the starting chute of the Kuskokwim 300 in January 2011. The rookie had a plan, hatched with the help of his champion mentors: Six of the eight females on the team were in heat, which could be used to an advantage when the dogs were harnessed in front of four male runners. At least Failor thought this would be an advantage. “They were my secret weapon,” he laughs. “They were going to make the boys run a little faster.” One hundred feet out of the

gate, the team of dogs transformed into an unruly mass of chaos. “Everyone was pointing and laughing,” he says. Failor untangled the dogs and still managed to finish the 300-mile race in 43 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds, earning him ninth place and a $3,400 prize. Race officials named him 2011’s Rookie of the Year. The laughter of those onlookers didn’t deter Failor. In fact, that drove him to work even harder and strike out on his own as a competitive musher in the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a near-1,000mile journey pitting man and dogs against temperatures that dip far below zero.

“Twelve months of the year my troop and I would go out and do something. … All of those early lessons play out on the trail [when I’m racing].” 10

The course navigates from Anchorage, in central Alaska, to Nome, on the coast of the Bering Sea, crossing brutal mountain ranges — within view of Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America — in addition to frozen rivers and fire-scorched tundra. After finishing 15th and earning $20,000 in his first Iditarod with his own team last year — he completed the race with teams owned by other kennels in 2012 and ’13 — Failor is again training and racing his own dogs in the next competition this March. And his confidence doesn’t just come from learning experiences like the one in Bethel, but also from his years in Scouting. THE RAUCOUS NOISE of 150 barking and howling dogs echoes off the walls of Sheep Creek Valley. At this camp, which serves as a summer home to Gold Rush Sled Dog Tours, four mushers and their dog teams await cruise-ship tourists visiting nearby Juneau and looking for the Alaskan experience of a sled-dog ride — despite the lack of snow. Instead of icy pathways, teams of 12 dogs harnessed to a golf cart-like buggy pull tourists along dirt roads once used by gold miners. Failor spends about five months at Sheep Creek living in a tent 50 feet away from his 28 dogs. These canines — ranging in age from 2 to 9 — make up Failor’s 17th-Dog kennel. “I have to learn to move as one unit with these dogs, and if we want to achieve that goal of winning, we have to do everything together,” he says. He lives and breathes “dog” all day — harnessing each team of dogs for tours, feeding them, grooming them and giving plenty of ear rubs.


en S By Gretch


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Eagle Scout Matthew Failor, a musher, uses his Scouting skills to take on the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.


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Eagle Scout Matthew Failor and his team, 17th-Dog, cross Long Lake as they begin the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race after the Willow checkpoint. When his team isn’t racing, the dogs train and greet tourists in Juneau’s Sheep Creek Valley (opposite page).

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FAST FACTS: The Iditarod race alternates between a northern and southern route because of the economic boost fThe f  provided to small villages (used as official race checkpoints) along the way. fAlthough f  the distances of both the northern and southern routes fall short of 1,000 miles, the “official” race distance is considered 1,049 miles — symbolic of Alaska, the 49th state. fThe f  southern route (raced every odd year) has 25 checkpoints, where teams check in with race officials, rest, and restock food and gear. Volunteer veterinarians examine every dog. Failor, shown above as a Cub Scout, was a favorite of the family’s Labrador retriever, Maggie. Failor’s parents play a supportive role in his Scouting and racing successes, including a trek at Philmont Scout Ranch (with dad, Tim) and cheering for him at the 2012 Iditarod finish (with mom, Cheryl).

Standing among his team at Sheep Creek, Failor is more than 3,000 miles from his childhood home in Mansfield, Ohio. It’s there that he attended weekly Scout meetings alongside his Scoutmaster dad and kept his backpack ready for weekend trips with his troop. Failor’s dad, Tim, says Scouting “showed Matt that you can love to be outside, and he truly does. The Iditarod is like the ultimate camping trip.” Being in the outdoors was a natural part of growing up for Failor and his siblings, including three Eagle Scout brothers and a sister. “My troop would have a cooking competition. We’d build shelters out of sticks. We learned how to properly handle a firearm and even knife-handling skills,” he says. And now, as an Iditarod competitor, Failor is faced with rapid-fire decisions on the trail that could cost him his dogs’ lives — or his own. Broken camp stove? Moose 12

fAs f  of 2014, only 718 teams have completed the Iditarod. fIn f  2014, Dallas Seavey recorded the fastest time of 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes.

attack? What about creative fixes to repair a sled? Scouting prepared him for moments like these, he says, and more. “I’ve seen all of [these challenges] in different forms before, years ago in Scouting, and now it’s coming out while I’m racing.” EAGLE SCOUT OR NOT, Failor admits that it took a while for his family to warm up to the idea of his racing sled dogs in the remote, frozen tundra of Alaska for days on end. “It’s far from what they know as a normal job,”

the Ohio State University grad says. So how did Failor wind up in Alaska? He’s got an easy answer: “I knew I wanted to work in the outdoors,” and Alaska seemed like a good place to start. As a 23-year-old college student, Failor picked up a summer gig working as a dog handler in Juneau for Gold Rush Sled Dog Tours, managed that year by Hayashida. The job came with plenty of perks, like scooping poop, grooming coats and preparing meals for 30-plus hungry mouths. That’s not to


fWhile f  many think the race was started to commemorate the 1925 diphtheria serum run to Nome (made famous by the story of Balto), the race was actually created in 1973 to help keep the tradition of sled-dog travel alive after the popularity of snowmobile use spread across Alaska.


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At his summer training home in Juneau, the Eagle Scout musher is far from the center of attention. Instead, his dog, Fionn, often steals the show with her bright blue eyes. (She’s featured with Failor on the cover of this issue and pictured above.) When he’s not giving tourists rides on the “sled” (far left), Failor spends plenty of time giving ear rubs and catching up on business-related work while sitting among his furry comrades.








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mention his accommodations: an A-frame tent. Failor was hooked. And his interest in sled-dog racing only grew when Hayashida asked him to serve as a dog handler during his preparation for and completion of the 2008 Iditarod. “He flew me all the way to Nome to see him cross the finish line,” Failor says. “It was a largerthan-life experience. They had spent nine to 10 days out on the trail, and it was hard for me to imagine what they’d been through. It made me curious and want to experience it for myself.” It wasn’t until Failor crossed the finish line himself in 2012 that he realized mushing was his idea of a dream career. His family was there to witness his achievement in Nome. “I finished 47th [out of 52 who completed the journey], but my family made me feel like I’d won the race. I immediately wanted to do it again,” he says. Since then, he’s completed two more Iditarod races and worked year-round to train his team.

FAILOR SITS DOWN — finally — at the

Sheep Creek camp, enjoying rare quiet (except for a few vocal canines) after a 12-hour day filled with entertaining tourists. Wi-Fi can be accessed only outside the camp’s main building. So when it’s time for Failor to tend to business, he parks himself on a chair among his team’s red doghouses. The glow of his laptop draws the attention of his nearby friends. One dog, Cool Cat, can’t contain her curiosity as she stretches to sniff at the computer screen. Failor checks his email to find the latest message in a strategy discussion with his mentor, Buser. “We’re constantly talking about what I can do better in the next race,” he says. “Even when I’m giving tours and pointing out checkpoints on the map, I’m thinking about how the race can be dissected.” Failor says there’s always room for improvement. Unlike many native mushers, his experience raising and training dogs didn’t start in his early youth. (No, he didn’t

earn the Dog Care merit badge, but mom Cheryl says Failor was the family favorite of his childhood yellow Lab, Maggie.) Observing Hayashida and Buser gave him the greatest leg up. “I learned how to run and care for the dogs,” he says. Buser adds that Failor’s natural skill and patience with the dogs has paid off even for the champion musher. “I still reap the benefits of his excellent dog training,” Buser says, noting the young musher’s years of dog handling for Happy Trails. “Matt implemented the advice given to him, resulting in one of the best young dog teams we’ve ever had.” Looking ahead to the first Saturday in March, the start of the 2015 Iditarod race, Failor says he has a different take on his next competition, compared to years past. His team has aged and he’s aged as well, so “we’re going to try to go a little bit harder,” he says. As soon as snow and the temperatures begin to fall, the team will retreat to Failor’s cabin home in Willow, near Anchorage. This is when the long-distance cardio work starts, with the dogs building up endurance by running 40 to 60 miles a day. During the Iditarod, the dogs will run about 100 miles a day. For this Eagle Scout, the rugged challenges of the Iditarod ignite a drive for pushing his team’s limits. After three races, he says he’s only getting started. “I love the competition. But it’s more than that to me,” he says. “Traveling with the dogs; being out in the wild; getting my hands dirty … these are the things that draw me to this race and keep me coming back.”


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CAVE ON Bill Steele frequently trades his Scout uniform for caving attire, in which he looks right at home sitting in the Western Hemisphere’s deepest cave, Sistema Huautla, located in southern Mexico. On an earlier trip, the explorer emerges (opposite page) from three days underground in West Virginia’s Hellhole cave.



By Mark Ray


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can remember that moment, that hinge of history, when their lives took on new purpose and meaning. Bill Steele’s moment came as a young Boy Scout in suburban Dayton, Ohio. The 12-year-old had been fascinated with caves since age 4 and was ready to move beyond the touristy show caves of his childhood. So when his Scoutmaster asked for ideas for a high-adventure trip, he suggested caving. “I’ll never forget the Scoutmaster smiling,” Steele recalls. “He said, ‘OK, you’re in charge. You find an expert and bring him to the meeting.’ I was like, ‘Huh? How do I do that?’ That’s a darn good lesson.” With his dad’s help, Steele found a local enthusiast who offered to teach the Scouts about caving, and the next summer the troop spent a week exploring caves in northern Kentucky. They visited Carter Caves State Park, but they also ventured into some caves on nearby farms, including one a farmer said had never been explored.




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That farmer was right. “Only three of us crawled between those sharp-edged boulders. We came up into an upper-level trunk passage, a big tunnel with no footprints on the floor. Even as green as I was, it didn’t appear to me that anybody had been there before,” Steele says. “We found what we call a ‘virgin cave passage’ that day, and that just lit a fire in me to be an explorer.” Steele’s fascination with caves quickly became a lifelong passion. Two years later, he and two friends launched an Explorer post that focused on speleology (the scientific study of caves) and that soon grew to 25 members. As a teen, Steele joined the National Speleological Society and started hanging out with world-class cavers like John Wilcox, who made important discoveries in Mammoth Cave in the early 1970s. At age 30, Steele became a Fellow of The Explorers Club, a group that has included such luminaries as Roald Amundsen, Sir Edmund Hillary and Neil Armstrong. In 2015, The Explorers Club will

award Steele with its Citation of Merit to recognize his outstanding feats of exploration. Steele has also received the National Speleological Society’s prestigious Lew Bicking Award and the BSA’s Distinguished Eagle Scout Award for his work exploring and mapping caves and organizing international expeditions. Fifty years after that first discovery in northern Kentucky, Steele has explored more than 2,500 caves on several continents. He has ventured deep into the longest caves in Texas, Oklahoma and Georgia, the deepest cave system in the Western Hemisphere (Sistema Huautla in southern Mexico), and the so-called Carlsbad Caverns

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Editor’s Note: On Aug. 31, 2014, Bill Steele retired from the Boy Scouts of America, ending a 34-year career that included seven years as director of the National Eagle Scout Association. What many people don’t realize is that Steele is both a world-class Scouter and a world-class caver. His retirement offers Eagles’ Call the chance to share the story of his underground exploits.



11/20/14 11:13 AM


Of all the cave systems Steele has explored, Sistema Huautla — which, appropriately, means “Place of the Eagle” in Mazatec — remains his favorite. He has been on 19 expeditions to Huautla since the mid-1970s and recently helped launch the “Projecto Espeleologico Sistema Huautla,” which seeks to map the caves to a length of 62 miles and a depth of 1 mile. “Our stated objectives are that we will conduct monthlong expeditions for the next decade, which means I’ll be 75 years old and probably be ready for another hobby,” Steele says. Already, the project has yielded important discoveries, including what are probably the remains of giant ground sloths from the Ice Age. “Their skeletons are there, protected like they fell in two years ago, but they probably fell in there 10,000 years ago,” Steele says. Sometimes Steele’s adventures involve spending days or weeks underground; sometimes they involve staying on the surface coordinating the work of others. His preference, however, is to be in the thick of the action. “I don’t think there is anything finer in caving than to be traveling a long distance, for hours and hours, and spending the time with good friends, talking, laughing, marveling, resting and savoring the moment,” he says.


Of course, caving can also include crawling, wriggling, rappelling and even swimming, as NESA President Glenn Adams discovered when Steele led Adams’ troop on caving trips. While the Scout trips Steele has led are typically pretty sedate, accidents still happen. Adams recalls the time when an assistant Scoutmaster stepped off a ledge into three feet of bat guano and injured her knee. Fearing that she had torn her anterior cruciate ligament, she told Steele she needed to turn back. He didn’t miss a beat, saying, “Well, we’re about halfway through, so you might as well continue on with us. We can get you out.” In reality, the group was less than a quarter of the way through the cave, but Steele had recognized the potential danger of splitting up the group. “She made it just fine,” Adams recalls. “It turned out that she tore her meniscus; she did not blow her ACL. I think [Steele] figured that out. He’s an expert at wilderness medicine in those situations, so he knew what he was dealing with.” It was not the first time Steele had to coax someone out of a cave, although a previous incident was much more serious. As a 27-year-old in 1976, Steele found himself in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness Area with a caver who became exhausted and simply gave up. Although uninjured, the man was too tired and dispirited to continue. “I did everything I could think of to get him going,” Steele recalls. “He finally said, ‘I’m not going to

Opposite page, right: Steele’s curiosity for caves first ignited after a family trip to Fairyland Caverns in Chattanooga, Tenn. He carried that curiosity into adulthood, mixing a career in Scouting with cave exploration. On the job, Steele joined NESA President Glenn Adams to inspect Joseph Csatari’s painting, “100 Years of Eagle Scouts.” Steele also supported Eagles’ Call magazine coverage, including a visit to the set of the CBS Evening News with (from left) Senior Editor Bryan Wendell, broadcast journalist Scott Pelley and Eagle Scout Scott Berger, the CBS Evening News associate director.

make it; you need to save yourself.’ ” Reluctantly, Steele left the man behind and began the long, lonely trip to the surface. But he didn’t go far. A hundred feet away, he sat down, turned off his light and reflected on the situation. “That’s when the thought struck me: I’m an Eagle Scout; I’ve got to go back,” he recalls. So he did. “I chewed him out, called him names and made him mad. And he got moving. I got him out of there,” he says. Steele had come a long way from that first northern Kentucky cave, but he was right where he needed to be.

‘THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO NESA’ NESA President Glenn Adams doesn’t mince words when asked about Bill Steele’s service as director of NESA. “I can absolutely say that Bill is the best thing that ever happened to NESA,” he says. NESA Vice President Dr. Michael Manyak, who oversees NESA’s new World Explorers Program, agrees. “Bill has been a driving force behind NESA programs and its mission to provide value to its members,” he says. “He has been highly active with many NESA activities and overseen the growth of the NESA footprint and, with Glenn, the functions of the NESA committee.” So what did Steele accomplish as NESA director? The box on the opposite page lists some highlights, but perhaps most important: Adams says Steele helped refine the organization’s mission to focus on providing service to local 16

councils. Through a series of NESA-led Eagle Scout searches, local councils now have access to a database of more than a million living Eagle Scouts — each of them a potential volunteer or supporter. And more than three-quarters of councils now have active NESA committees that are re-engaging Eagle Scouts in continued service to Scouting. Adams believes that Steele’s leadership ability, tenacity and people skills have been instrumental to NESA’s growth. “Bill is able to navigate behind the scenes without getting in anybody’s face; he just quietly gets the job done. But he’s like a bulldog; he doesn’t give up,” Adams says. “Bill has truly made a difference for the Boy Scouts of America. He has left a legacy that will endure for decades to come.” Bill Steele and Glenn Adams


of China, where he worked with cavers from the U.S., Great Britain and China. (“Even in such a faraway place, all three [American] men in the group were Eagle Scouts,” he says.)


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Steele has frequently shared caving stories at events like the National Order of the Arrow Conference. He also wrote an article on how to get started in caving for the August 2014 issue of Boys’ Life. To read the article and watch a seven-minute video, visit

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CAVER’S SECRET: The original explorers were lowered into

the entrance in a large bucket.


By Bill Steele

Here’s the lowdown from an expert caver on the best places to get started caving.

Bill Steele has explored hundreds of caves throughout the United States and in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and China. He has written books on caving and appeared on TV shows such as National Geographic Explorer, NOVA and How’d They Do That? When asked to recommend the best places for a beginning caver, this is what Steele said: “Start with my favorite easily accessible show (tourist) caves listed here. I recommend going on a ‘wild’ caving trip at a show cave. They have the helmets, lights and guides to keep it safe and interesting.” CONTINUED>>>





ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT NESA fIncreased f  NESA membership from 120,000 to 150,000



FUN FACTS: The caverns contain a giant room that measures 4,000 feet by 625 feet and 255 feet high.

cowboy, Jim White, who thought he saw smoke — but it actually was bats flying out of the entrance. In season (mid-April to late October), 17 species of bats live at the park.

EDITOR’S NOTE: He started caving as a Scout almost 50 years ago, and since then,

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WHEN TO GO: Anytime CLAIM TO FAME: The caverns were discovered by a 16-year-old


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CARLSBAD CAVERNS WHERE: Carlsbad Caverns National Park, N.M.

fIncreased f  NESA’s database of Eagle Scouts from fewer than 200,000 to more than a million fPublished f  four books: one directory, two books of Eagle Scout stories and the first annual Eagle Scout yearbook fGrew f  NESA’s scholarship program from 77 annual awards worth $224,000 to 253 annual awards worth $645,500 fEstablished f  the NESA Outstanding Eagle Scout Award fEstablished f  the Glenn A. and Melinda W. Adams National Eagle Scout Service Project of the Year Award fEstablished f  the NESA World Explorers Program fConducted f  a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout Award in 2012, which included a major presence at the 2012 National Order of the Arrow Conference and the commissioning of a new painting by Joseph Csatari fUpgraded f  the black-and-white Eagletter, NESA’s 40-year-old newsletter, to the fullcolor Eagles’ Call magazine you’re holding now fMade f  the Americanism Breakfast the most popular event at the BSA’s National Annual Meeting

Steele’s experiences working for the BSA include rappelling from San Antonio’s Tower of the Americas for the local council, visiting with President George W. Bush for the BSA’s Report to the Nation, chatting with Eagle Scout musher Matthew Failor in Juneau, Alaska, and meeting with Secretary of Defense and Eagle Scout Donald Rumsfeld.

fMade f  the NESA booth the most popular exhibit at the BSA’s national jamboree

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ACHIEVEMENTS // Lawrence Sellers / Stewart Gagnon / Once an Eagle ...

To Save a Life

Once an Eagle ...

... Always an Eagle. NESA remembers Eagle Scouts who have passed. Recognize the life of another Eagle by completing the form found at eaglegonehome. This link also provides more information on how to make a Living Memorial donation in the name of a deceased Eagle.

Chicago Eagle Receives Honor Medal


n the history of the Boy Scouts of America, fewer than 2,500 individuals have received the Honor Medal, which goes to a Scout or Scouter who risks his own life to save another person. Among the most recent recipients is 18-year-old Lawrence Sellers of Chicago. In January 2013, Sellers was with a group of friends in a Chicago park when they were caught in the crossfire of a gang-related shooting. Sellers shielded his girlfriend, Danetria Hutson, with his body and was wounded in his leg. Another bystander, Hadiya Pendelton, was killed. (Her death received national attention because she had performed at events in Washington, D.C., during President Barack Obama’s second inauguration barely a week before the shooting.)

Robert Waters Easley III, 74 Annandale, Va. Eagle: 1955 Passed: March 9, 2014

Sellers remains humble about his actions. “I did what I needed to do. I didn’t think I would receive an award,” he says. While Sellers says he’s glad he received the Honor Medal, it’s not his top accomplishment. “Becoming an Eagle Scout. That was No. 1,” he says.

Eagle Scout Attorney Receives National Recognition



thing I learned when I became a Boy Scout was to do a Good Turn daily,” he says. As chair of his firm’s pro bono committee, Gagnon has convinced his colleagues to join the pro bono bandwagon. Eightyfive percent now participate, averaging 111 hours of service per year, up from less than 20 hours at the turn of this century. In nominating Gagnon for the ABA Award, the Houston Bar Association noted his consistent appearance on lists of top state and national attorneys. “Yet his true legacy lies in those he has served pro bono,” the nomination form reads. “He has improved the lives of thousands, giving them the chance to be better mothers and fathers, giving children the chance to grow up in a safe environment. And he has inspired hundreds of other attorneys, both young and experienced, to give back to their communities through the one thing that only attorneys can give: access to justice for all.” In other words, he has done a Good Turn daily.

Hig 201 (ou nat by t exci in c

Thomas J. Gray Sr., 96 Cleveland, Ohio Eagle: 1930 Passed: January 2014 Charles J. Hovanesian, 48 Farmington, Mich. Eagle: 1982 Passed: December 2013 James “Jim” Kelly, 62 Follansbee, W.Va. Eagle: 1967 Passed: Jan. 2, 2014 Cmdr. Allyn E. Rowley, 83 U.S. Navy, Ret. San Juan Capistrano, Calif. Eagle: 1944 Passed: July 2013

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Reed Schulze, 19 Roaming Shores, Ohio Eagle: 2010 Passed: March 2014

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Theodore M. Vial Sr., 93 Princeton, N.J. Eagle: 1937 Passed: Sep. 17, 2014

awa Ann Gov

Frederick “Eric” Zumsteg, 35 Wilmington, Del. Eagle: 1996 Passed: April 2014

Living Memorials Keith Lloyd Anderson, 70 Lubbock, Texas Eagle: 1958 Passed: September 2013 From: Wife Mary Anderson


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Kenneth H. DeHoff Sr., 95 Phoenix, Ariz. Eagle: 1934 Passed: March 8, 2014

Honor in the Court he American Bar Association recommends that each attorney give at least 50 hours a year in pro bono services to people of limited means or to nonprofit organizations that serve them. Most years, Eagle Scout Stewart Gagnon hits that mark before Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A partner with Norton Rose Fulbright in Houston, Gagnon logged more than 1,450 pro bono hours in 2013, service that earned him the 2014 Pro Bono Award from the American Bar Association’s Section of Family Law. Fellow Eagle Scout and Sam Houston Area Council board member Nelson Block is not surprised by Gagnon’s award. “Stewart is a national leader in providing legal services to those who are otherwise unable to afford a lawyer, providing more than a thousand hours of free legal services each year to families — and especially children — in cases involving adoption, foster care and immigration matters where family issues arise.” Why does Gagnon spend half his working hours giving away his services? The answer stems from Scouting: “The first


11/21/14 11:14 AM

BSA and orga the Sho



Awards & Recognition // ACHIEVEMENTS

Awards & Recognition Eagle Scouts shine, even after reaching the top honor in Scouting. NESA celebrates the achievements of the Eagle Scouts shown below. Recognize the success of an Eagle by completing the form found at

Michael J. Bigbie Laurel, Miss. Graduated from Mississippi State University in May with a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering.

James Brahm Huntsville, Ala. Earned a perfect 36 on the ACT and a perfect 2,400 on the SAT as a 10thgrader. He also captained his Grissom High School Cyber Team to a second-place finish in the 2014 Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot competition (out of more than 3,000 teams). CyberPatriot is a national high school cyber defense competition sponsored by the Air Force Association and industry partners to excite, educate and motivate students to pursue careers in cybersecurity and other STEM-related fields.

Daryl Chambers Winston-Salem, N.C. Achieved the rank of paramedic with New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Leland Fire/Rescue in Wilmington, N.C.

Kurtis C. Freedland Hidden Hills, Calif. Graduated with a double major in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California at Berkeley and is a software engineer at Yelp in San Francisco.

Thomas J. Grech Malverne, N.Y. Completed a two-year term as president of the University of Scranton Alumni Society Board of Governors. A member of the Class of 1984, Tom has been involved with the alumni society since he graduated.

Charles H. Holland Jr. Cocoa Beach, Fla. Promoted to assistant city manager/ chief financial officer of the City of Cocoa Beach, Fla. Holland has been awarded numerous recognitions for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the annual budget from the Government Finance Officers Association.

Gary S. Krippendorf Redwood City, Calif. Awarded the Lions Club Scouting Service Award for his many years of service both to Lions International and to the BSA. He was instrumental in founding a Cub Scout pack and a Boy Scout troop. Krippendorf is the chartered organization representative for Pack 61 and Troop 61 of the Pacific Skyline Council, sponsored by the Redwood Shores Lions Club.

Sam Krug

David B. Pegado

Hershey, Pa. Named pride events director for Penn State University’s 2014 homecoming, one of the largest student-led homecoming organizations in the United States. He was also named to the executive board of Penn State’s newly formed special interest association, composed of 29 special interest organizations that support Penn State’s THON, the world’s largest student-led philanthropy, which works to help conquer pediatric cancer. Krug, class of 2015, is a chemical engineering major/music performance minor, as well as a lab assistant in metabolic engineering.

Buffalo, N.Y. Graduated with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and two minors in mathematics and statistics from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. He’s certified as a rescue diver and led the Scuba Club at St. Lawrence, continuing an interest ignited at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree and the BSA’s Florida Sea Base.

Joseph Deans Richardson Conyers, Ga. Graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering in December. He has accepted a position with Hillphoenix, a global leader in manufacturing retail commercial refrigeration systems, to work at their corporate headquarters in Conyers, Ga.

Kevin R. Leavor Belle Vernon, Pa. Received his doctorate in atmospheric science from Hampton University in Virginia. He’s working at NASA Langley Research Center on the Sage III satellite. Sage III is scheduled to launch next year and attach to the International Space Station. The satellite will provide accurate long-term measurements of ozone, aerosols, water vapor and other parameters of Earth’s atmosphere. These observations are crucial for providing a better understanding of how natural processes and human activity might influence our climate.

Dr. Marc Andrew Rodriguez Granada Hills, Calif. Graduated from University of California San Diego School of Medicine with his doctorate degree in 2013. It was a hardwon achievement, as he was diagnosed with APL, an acute type of leukemia, on his last day of finals in his first year of medical school. He has been cancer-free for more than four years. And in June, he will complete his surgical internship at a Cornell hospital in Queens, N.Y. He plans to complete his residency in anesthesiology at Tufts University in Boston.

Thomas Alexander Lopez Palmetto Bay, Fla. Received the National Merit Scholar Award and National Hispanic Recognition Award in early 2014. Will study biology/ pre-med at the University of Oklahoma. He is an assistant Scoutmaster for his troop.

Logan Mark Skelley Joplin, Mo. Participated in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Match Day, which is the day the results of the most recent National Resident Matching Program are revealed. Skelley, a fourth-year medical student, “matched” in dermatology at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minn. His three-year dermatology residency will be preceded by a transitional year at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Ind.

Clay Winfield Moore Russellville, Ark. Earned his master’s in emergency administration and management/homeland security from Arkansas Tech University.

Scott P. Moore Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho Received the 2013 Texas Tech University Distinguished Engineer Award and was inducted into the university’s Electrical & Computer Engineering Academy. Moore received the Silver Beaver Award in 2011.

Casey Stedman Olympia, Wash. Stedman led the second Hawaii Space Exploration & Analog Simulation (HISEAS), a NASA mission to develop methods for future astronauts to live and work on Mars.

Brian M. Parro Bolingbrook, Ill. Named the valedictorian of the Bolingbrook High School class of 2014. Brian will attend Case Western Reserve University to study business finance and economics with a minor in leadership.

Uf Tukel Taylorsville, N.C. Named to the 2014 Cruise Industry Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Cruise Retailer. Tukel works as a co-president and founder of WMPH Vacations.

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11/21/14 11:14 AM

ACHIEVEMENTS // For God and Country

For God and Country


Many young men exchange their Scout uniforms for fatigues, dress blues or battle dress uniforms. NESA salutes the Eagle Scouts shown below who are serving our nation in all branches of the armed forces. Recognize another Eagle by completing the form found at

Midshipman Nick Abramson U.S. Navy Appointed to U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. Attended summer blocks of his Youngster Yard Patrol cruise aboard the USS Laboon (DDG58) and Jump School in Fort Benning, Ga. He is returning to the U.S. Naval Academy.

2nd Lt. Thomas C. Brown U.S. Army Graduated from the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant of field artillery in the Army. He was the 2014 recipient of the BG Jack R. Sadler Award, given to the top cadet from the graduating class in the U.S. Army Field Artillery branch, and he also earned the Distinguished Military Student recognition in Army ROTC.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Michael E. Cappola U.S. Navy Graduated from basic training in Great Lakes, Ill., in November 2011 and completed advanced school in Groton, Conn., in August 2012, graduating with a specialty in sonar tech (submarines). He was promoted to petty officer third class in May 2013. He is currently stationed in Norfolk, Va., and assigned to the USS Albany.

Capt. Zacharie P. Dumont U.S. Army Promoted to captain while serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom with the 4th Infantry Division in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

2nd Lt. Luke A. Ganster U.S. Army Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. He is a second lieutenant in the engineer branch. He will report to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri for his officer basic leadership course.


Capt. Rodney Glassman U.S. Air Force JAG Corps Reserves Recognized with the 2013 Harmon Award as JAG Reservist of the Year. Glassman serves in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps Reserves at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz.

2nd Lt. Philip C. Hellmers U.S. Air Force Graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering. He will report to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., for his first assignment.

Pfc. James Jost U.S. Army Serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. His home base is Fort Carson, Colo.

Cpl. Patrick Jost U.S. Marine Corps Served his country for four years, going on two deployments. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He was recently honorably discharged and will be attending Illinois State University in January.

Pfc. Thomas Parent U.S. Army An Eagle Scout with Troop 278 in Stevensville, Md., Parent graduated basic training at Fort Benning, Ga., in July 2013 and was assigned to Fort Carson, Colo. He is deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Sco belo


Lt. j.g. Brendan A. Rhoad U.S. Navy Attended Penn State University on a Navy ROTC scholarship, graduating with a Bachelor of Science. He earned his Information Dominance Warfare Officer qualification and is stationed at the Office of Naval Intelligence, Washington, D.C., and deploys with Carrier Strike Group 1 aboard the USS Carl Vinson.


Seaman Charles Ryan Swisher U.S. Navy Graduated from boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill., and is serving in deck division as a seaman aboard the USS New York, homeported at Mayport Naval Station, Fla.

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Petty Officer 3rd Class Seth A. Witthaus U.S. Navy Graduated basic training in Great Lakes, Ill., in August 2013, completed advanced school in Great Lakes, Ill., in December 2013 and graduated as fireman/damage controlman. He is stationed on the naval base in Norfolk, Va., and is aboard the USS Oscar Austin on Baltic Operation.


Kev U.S Bisc


Airman 1st Class Thomas A. Zak U.S. Air Force Zak became an Eagle Scout in 2010 with Troop 180 in Manalapan, N.J. He is also a four-star recipient of the God and Country awards. He graduated Manalapan High School in 2012 and went to basic training in February 2014. He is at tech school for special vehicle maintenance.

Trev Bra

Ca Lance Cpl. Andrew M. Zelms U.S. Marine Corps Graduated from Parris Island boot camp in South Carolina in 2013 and ITB and LAV school in 2014. He is serving in Quantico, Va.

Alex Can


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11/21/14 11:14 AM


Family Affair // ACHIEVEMENTS

Eagle Scouting Is a Family Affair

Scouting’s highest honor is best shared with other generations of family members. Join NESA in celebrating the families of Eagle Scouts shown below. Recognize the Eagles in your own family by completing the form found at

Benson Family Wayne and Clifton, N.J.

Cohen Family Pittsgrove Township, N.J.

Dykstra Family Darien and Rockford, Ill.

Wyatt Benson (2012) and James Benson (1976)

Derek Cohen (2013) and Steven Cohen (1982)

Bermudez Family Anaheim, Calif.

Culbreth Family Wilmington, N.C.

Tim Tronc (1987),
Jacob Dykstra (2013), Jake Dykstra (1984)
and Dave Dykstra (1987)

Heather Bermudez (Gold Award, 2010; Venturing Silver, 2012), Jeremy Bermudez (2009) and
Ryan Bermudez (2011)

Bisconti Family Bronxville, N.Y.

Kevin Bisconti (2010),
Christopher Bisconti (First Class), U.S. Army Capt. Robert Bisconti (2004) and Patrick Bisconti (2013)

Brass Family Lincoln, Neb.

Enderby Family Palo Alto, Calif.

Tyler Thomas Culbreth (2013),
Logan Andrew Culbreth and Daniel Andrew Culbreth (1983)

Kevin Enderby (1973), Mike Enderby (1972), Chuck Enderby (Silver Beaver) and Dave Enderby (1975)

Denson Family Waxhaw, N.C.

Fishel Family Morton, Ill.

Zach Denson (2012), Mike Denson and Bob Denson (1982)

Alexander Fishel (2006), Andrew Fishel (2008) and Samuel Fishel (2013)

Deudney Family Fla., Va. and N.C.

Fisher Family Jamestown, N.C.

Trevor A. Brass (2007), Brianna C. Brass and Jared E. Brass (2001)

A. Horace Deudney (1945; Miami, Fla.), Benjamin Parks Pinkston (2012; Martinsville, Va.) and Daniel H. Deudney (1969; Winston-Salem, N.C.)

Rob Fisher (1987), Andrew Fisher (2013), Thomas Fisher (1989) and Steve Griffin (not pictured, 1980)

Canfield Family Charleston, W.Va.

Dooling Family Alton, Ill.

Foster Family Flower Mound, Texas

Alex Canfield (2013), John Canfield (1979) and Ben Canfield (2011)

Patrick McGurk (2003), John Dooling (1951) and Stephen St. John (2013)

Zachary Foster (2013), Eric Foster (1978) and Seth Foster (2009)

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11/21/14 11:14 AM

ACHIEVEMENTS // Family Affair

Gill Family Graham, Wash.

Hurlimann Family Austin, Texas

Kelly Family Loveland, Colo.


Thomas Hurlimann (2013) and Jakob Hurlimann (2011)

John Kelly (2008), Brian Kelly (2010), Joseph Kelly (2004), Michael Kelly (2014) and Phil Kelly (2004)

Rob Lew

Kinder Family Cape Girardeau, Mo.


Mark Kinder (1974), James Kinder III (1966), Will Kinder (2010), Peter Kinder (1969; Distinguished Eagle, 2010), Hunter Kinder (2008), Frank Kinder (1967), Nick Kinder (not pictured; 1996), Jimmy Kinder IV (not pictured; 1998) and Jim Kinder Jr. (not pictured/deceased; 1934)


Hutton Family Poway, Calif. Carter Gill (2014),
Wyatt Gill and Chris Gill (1994)

Gottesman Family Greenbrae and Redwood City, Calif.

Bradley Hutton (2007),
Jeffrey Hutton (2013),
Michael Hutton (2009) and
Scott Hutton (1979)

Jaraczewski Family Peru and Geneva, Ill. Michael J. Gottesman (1982), Nathan S. Gottesman (2013), Zachary L. Gottesman (2014), James S. Gottesman (1978) and Noah L. Gottesman (2012)


Koellein Family Dickson, Tenn.

Graf Family Horsham, Pa.

Mar Dr. (20

Richard Jaraczewski (1954),
Mitchell Baer (2013) and
Derrick Baer (2013)

Johnson-Ojala Family Eagan, Minn. Bryan William Graf (2010) and
Jason Robert Graf (2013)

Mayhew Franklin Koellein Jr. (1980),
Tate Emil Koellein (2013),
Evan Mayhew Koellein (2011) and
Mayhew Franklin Koellein (1954)

Heun Family New Berlin, Wis.

Lamb Family Escondido, Calif.


George Johnson (1938) and Erik Ojala (1989)

Vern Chr

Justice Family Bowling Green, Ky.

Ma Keith Heun, Karl Heun (2010), Erik Heun (2012), Dave Zuehlke and Ralph Heun (Silver Beaver)

Alex Lamb (2014) and Jacob Lamb (2009)

Landers Family Dallas, Texas

Howell Family Fortson, Ga.

Andrew Justice (2010), Michael Justice (2013) and Paul Justice (2007)

Dea (19 Nat Cody Howell (2011), Travis Clark and Logan Howell (2013)


Dr. Stephen Landers (1973), Daniel Landers (2013) and Jack Landers (1947)


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12/1/14 8:16 AM

er ), r

Lewis Family Tomball, Texas

Mayper Family Camarillo, Calif.

Penegar Family Mineral Springs, N.C.

Robert Lewis (2008),
Brian Lewis (2014)
and Stephen Lewis (2012)

Michael Mayper (2013) and
Chuck Mayper (1981)

Jacob Ware Penegar (2014) and Michael Ware Penegar (1970)

Nelson Family Severna Park, Md.

Pennise Family Oneida, N.Y.

Liming Family Lordstown, Ohio

David Wujick (1980) and Louis Liming (2014)

Warren Nelson (1981), Timothy Nelson (2013) and Bruce Nelson (1979)

Mansfield Family Nashua, N.H.

Nix Family Hendersonville, N.C.

Andrew Pennise (1992),
Matthew Pennise and Patrick Pennise (2013)

Ragsac Family San Jose, Calif., and University Place, Wash.


Mark S. Mansfield (1970), Dr. Michael Mansfield (1973), Dr. Martin Mansfield (1973), Matthew W. Mansfield (2008) and Philip O. Mansfield (2013)

Margard Family Columbus, Ohio

Jacob Dalton Nix (2009),
Ethan Thomas Nix (2012) and
Ryan Harrison Nix (2014)

Ovalle Family Fresno, Calif.

Greer Ragsac, Darrell Congdon (1941), Adrian Ragsac (2010) and
Verle Congdon

Roberts Family Colorado Springs, Colo.

Andre Ovalle (2009) and Vincent Ovalle (2011) Vern Margard (1972), Isaac Margard (2013) and Christian Margard (2011)

Pearson Family Madison, Ala. Craig R. Roberts (2011),
Benjamin R. Roberts (2013) and
Neil A. Roberts (2007)

Marks Family Placerville, Calif.

Robinson Family Highland, Md.

Colton Pearson (2014), Boise Pearson (1981), Heyden Pearson, Tucker Pearson (2014) and Bridgette Pearson Dean Marks (1974), Dana Marks (1977), Doug Marks (1969), Richard Marks (2014), Dave Marks (1972) and Nathan Marks (1996)

Alexander Jose Robinson (2014) and George Waller Robinson (1956)


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12/1/14 10:46 AM

ACHIEVEMENTS // Family Affair

Schreyer Family Newport Beach, Calif.

Varney Family Papillion, Neb.

Alex Conte (2012), Alex Schreyer (2013), Karl Schreyer (2013) and Ian Griffith (2014)

Smith Family Phoenix, Ariz.

Woerpel Family Lake Mills, Wis.

Steven Woerpel (2013) and Andrew Woerpel (2010) David Varney (1985), Tyler Varney (2013), Colin Varney and Michelle Varney

Yates-Retting Family Atlanta, Ga.

Vlastnik Family Peru, Ill.

Scott Yates (2008), Randy Yates (1996), Mathew Retting (2001), Rusty Yates (2013) and Cory Yates (2008)

Michael Smith (2013) and Christopher Smith (2010)

Snyder Family Clifton, Va.

Alexander Vlastnik (2008), Dale Vlastnik (1973), William Vlastnik (1946), Richard Vlastnik (1972), Kurtis Vlastnik (2010) and Frank Vlastnik (1946; not pictured/deceased)

Walkinshaw Family Stillwater, Minn.

Jake Snyder (2010),
Marc Snyder (1972) and
William Snyder (2013)

Sullebarger Family Harvard, Mass. Ronald J. Walkinshaw (1974),
David J. Walkinshaw (2012),
James R. Walkinshaw (1949) and Dr. Lawrence H. Walkinshaw (1949; not pictured/deceased)

Wehr Family Montgomery, N.Y.

Dave Edmundson (1960), Franklyn Sullebarger (1944), William Sullebarger (2012), Bob Sullebarger (1976), Tom Sullebarger (1972) and Jeff Sullebarger (2005)

Terry Family Reading, Mass. James Wehr II (2012), Jake Wehr and Julius Wehr (2012)

Wirth Family Leander, Texas

Nathan M. Terry (2013) and Michael T. Terry (1973)

Logan Wirth (2013),
Austin Wirth (2011) and
Zachary Wirth (2009)


United States Postal Service STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION 1. Publication Title: EAGLES' CALL 2. Publication No.: 0036-9500 3. Date of Filing: Sept. 1, 2014 4. Issue Frequency: Four times a year — Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall 5. No. of issues published annually: 4 6. Annual subscription price: $5.00 7. Complete mailing address of known office of publication: 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079; Contact Person: Judy Bramlett, 972-580-2167 8. Complete mailing address of the headquarters or general business offices of publisher: 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079 9. Full names and complete mailing addresses of publisher, editor, and managing editor: Publisher, Michael Goldman; Editor, Paula Murphey; Managing Editor, Bryan Wendell; all addresses, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079 10. Owner: Boy Scouts of America, a nonprofit organization, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079 11. Known bondholders, mortgagees, and other security holders owning or holding 1 percent or more of total amount of bonds, mortgages, or other securities: None 12. Tax status (for completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at nonprofit rates). The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: Has not changed during preceding 12 months. 13. Publication Title: EAGLES' CALL 14. Issue date for circulation data below: Fall 2014 15. Extent and nature of circulation No. copies Avg. no. copies each of single issue issue during nearest preceding 12 mos. to filing date a. Total No. copies (net press run) 140,715 144,500 b. Paid and/or requested circulation (1) paid/requested outside-county mail subscriptions stated on Form 3541 132,735 136,149 (2) paid in-county subscriptions stated on Form 3541 0 0 (3) sales through dealers and carriers, street vendors, counter sales and other non-USPS paid distribution 0 0 (4) other classes mailed through the USPS 0 0 c. Total paid and/or requested circulation 132,735 136,149 d. Free distribution by mail (1) outside-county as stated on Form 3541 2,675 2,675 (2) in-county as stated on Form 3541 0 0 0 0 (3) other classes mailed through the USPS e. Free distribution outside the mail 0 0 f. Total free distribution 2,675 2,675 g. Total distribution 135,410 138,824 h. Copies not distributed 5,305 5,676 i. Total 140,715 144,500 j. Percent paid and/or requested circulation 98.02 98.07 16. Publication of Statement of Ownership will be printed in the Winter 2015 issue of this publication. 17. I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). Michael Goldman, Publisher


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12/1/14 7:58 AM

CLOSING SHOT // Top-Tier Adventure

photograph by


Eagles’ Call

Calling all Eagle Scout photographers: We’re looking for images that represent the essence of Eagle Scouting. Send an email to with your name, the year you achieved Eagle and any low-resolution images that you’d like us to consider. We’ll showcase our favorites on future “Closing Shot” pages.


Summer memories get us through the cold, wintery months — especially those from Boy Scouts of America national high-adventure bases, like Northern Tier. Nineteen-year-old Max Atkinson snapped the above photo after a nineday canoeing excursion through Minnesota’s Boundary Waters and Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park in late July. From the fun to the challenges — mosquito bites and all — he says it was a quintessential Scouting adventure. To help capture the journey, Atkinson took a moment before coming into base camp to “strap my GoPro to my paddle” and take a crew photo. The young photographer from Troop 65 in Denton, Texas, likes to document memories from his troop’s trips, including underwater photos of the group scuba diving. The photos are always fun to share with others and look back on later, he says.


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1:36 PM

11/21/14 10:30 AM

2015 Winter Eagles' Call  
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