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Scouts soar to Eagle in joint ceremony


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  Twelve years ago, six little boys met at the first meeting of Cub Scout Pack 163 in what was to begin a twelve-year journey of fun, friendship and life lessons. This past Sunday afternoon, those little boys, now all young men, received their Eagle Scout awards in a joint ceremony in the Government Building at Heritage Park in McDonough.

Stephen Pike, Ryan Crawford, Edwin Morris, Guy Simoneaux (Scoutmaster), Paul Howington, Patrick Oney, and Josh Bowles.                                                          Special photo

  Josh Bowles, from Union Grove High School, and Ryan Crawford, Paul Howington, Edwin Morris, Patrick Oney and Stephen Pike, all from Ola High School, proudly received their Eagle Scout pins in front of approximately150 family and friends for each of the scout’s completion of a special project and other requirements to earn the prestigious designation.     

  The scouts, all members of Troop 62 in McDonough, completed individual projects, with the assistance of the other scouts. Although projects were completed at various times throughout the past two years they, along with their parents, decided to have the ceremony together.

  Scoutmaster Guy Simoneaux, who has been leading the troop for more than ten years, with the help of assistant troop leaders Mark Howington and Chris Carmichael, said he was extremely proud of the young men.

  “It’s a big deal and it’s neat that they decided to have the ceremony together,” said Simoneaux. “Only four percent of scouts make it to Eagle and it’s a fantastic accomplishment.”

  For their individual projects, each scout enlisted the help of the others, as well as family and friends. Simoneaux said that each young man had to plan the project, enlist help, secure donations and funding and fill out complicated paperwork.  

  Josh Bowles’ Eagle Scout project was building a professional sand volleyball court at Glen Haven Baptist Church. He said he chose to do this project as an outreach tool for the students of his church and community. The project took two weeks to complete.

  Ryan Wade Crawford received his Eagle pin last year as a high school junior by taking on the task of improving the grounds of an old, neglected cemetery behind the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. The cemetery dates back to the early 1800's of the Mt. Pleasant community. He cut grass, as well as planted grass and trees, built a bench, fixed monuments that had been overturned and replaced a headstone for a pauper's grave.

  Paul Howington’s inspiration for his project began out of his interest in trains, which began when he was young. For his project he decided to enhance and do some refurbishment to the exhibit of the locomotive on display at Heritage Park, with the intention of sharing his knowledge of trains and the infamous Camp Creek train wreck of 1900, with visitors to the park.

  Edwin Morris’ project took place at Nash Farm Park where he converted the cattle shed to a picnic pavilion, complete with picnic tables. He organized 20 volunteers, including scouts, siblings and adults and gathered donated items to complete the project, which was finished this past October.

  Patrick Oney completed his project in January, 2012 at Oakland Baptist Church in McDonough. The project took several months of planning and included landscaping the grounds of the church, as well as adding a picnic table and a new toddler playground. Oney was able to secure donations from Wilson Bros. nursery, Lowe’s and Walmart to complete the project.

  Stephen Pike completed his Eagle Scout project this past March by building five picnic tables for Noah’s Ark in Locust Grove. He said he choose Noah’s Ark because he has always been impressed with the work they do by rescuing animals and helping foster children. He worked for several months on raising money through donations to fund the project and enlisted the help of fellow Scouts, enabling him to complete the project in a day.

  Simoneaux, who has been leading Troop 62 for the past ten years said that he believes it is the oldest troop in McDonough, getting it’s start in 1936.

  He said he is grateful for the co-leadership and particularly the parents who have assisted in this journey for the Scouts.

  “We have had great leadership that has kept the boys on track and we have a fantastic group of parents who really help make this work,” said Simoneaux.

  Dody Morris, a parent, said that the biggest benefit of Scouting for her son and the others has been the camaraderie and the friendship, and said that Scouting offers participants a wide range of activities and experiences.

  “It’s nice for this ceremony to be the culmination of all of their hard work,” said Morris. “It’s a full-circle kind of moment where they are able to see the fruits of their labors. We are all very proud.”



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