Troop 254 Achieves Eagle Rank as it Helps Abington's Hungry
The troop, which meets in Hatboro, collected over 12,000 pounds of food for the Interfaith Food Pantry in Abington.
Earlier this month at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Hatboro, Carl Baust, Kenneth Colocousis, Paul Freitag and Richard Smith officially received their Eagle Scout Awards after decades of hard work.
Starting in 1969, Troop 254 has had many special needs members come and go, but four stuck to the task, earning 21 merit badges, as well as leading and designing a service project.
Fewer than one percent of all Boy Scouts achieve Eagle, the highest rank in scouting. Despite cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and hearing loss, these young men of Troop 254 may now count themselves among the same group as presidents, astronauts and Nobel Peace Prize winners.
The troop works together in the Scouting for Food program, a food drive in the neighborhood of the church where they meet. The four men created an Eagle Scout project based on this program by setting up an additional food drive campaign in four separate locations to benefit the Interfaith Food Pantry in Abington. To date, they have collected over 12,000 pounds of food to feed the hungry.
Through the years, Troop 254 and Bucks County’s Troop 136 have been blessings to each other. Over the course of many outings together, members from Troop 136 would teach first aid, knot tying and sign language to the young men of Troop 254 while earning their Handicapped Awareness Merit Badge.
Scoutmaster Alan Eickhoff holds weekly meetings for Troop 254 that alternate between scout work and show and tell. Scout work involves working towards a merit badge, preparing for the annual food drive, or writing invitations and thank you notes. Show and Tell is when the troop gathers as a scout family to discuss the joys and struggles of life, and to share each other’s interests.
“There are no age limits for us, so we intend to keep meeting and earning badges for as long as we can have a troop,” Eickhoff said.
A troop must have at least five members to continue. After the Eagle rank, scouts can earn palms for every five merit badges attained thereafter.
Troop 254’s newest member, Aaron Richards, also earned his Scout award as he began his quest for Eagle.
Eickhoff, commenting on the ceremony, said, “We have an outstanding group of men who have a real passion for life.”