Meridian Star

February 26, 2012

Eagle Scouts flying high

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     After years of reaching for the pinnacle in Scouting, eight young men from Troop 9 have soared to Eagle status.

    The eight young men, Zachary Corey, L. A. Gidden, Caleb Landrum, Rhett Spivey, Jacob Follin, Andrew Culpepper, Jake Purvis, and William Linder, will be honored during the Scout Sunday Service at Highland Baptist Church, when they receive their badges. Tonight the scouts will again be the guests of honor with a spaghetti dinner. The dinner will also double as the major fundraiser for the troop. It begins at 7 p.m.

    Steve Corey, one of the scout leaders for Troop 9, said these scouts completed their requirements for Eagle Scout in 2011 making this the largest Eagle group since 1990 when nine scouts reached this same goal.

    "Along this trail these young men have scaled mountains, crossed rivers and experienced history," Corey said. "They have worked hard and accomplished a great deal in making it to this point."

    At a minimum, Corey said a scout must earn 21 merit badges, serve in leadership roles within their troop, perform service hours and master a multitude of scout skills along the way.  Statistically, less than four boys out of 100 who join Boy Scouts will achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

    Corey said these scouts have explored the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, attended the 100 year anniversary of scouting at the National Scout jamboree with 50,000 other scouts from across the country. Backpacked 80 miles through the Rocky Mountains at Philmont Scout Ranch along with other adventures.         Other Adventures include; rafting the “Mad Mile” rapids on the Gallatin River in Montana, hiking the historic Civil War battlefield of Shiloh National Park, learning the history of our Navy by spending the night on the WWII USS Alabama Battleship, canoeing Black Creek & the Okatoma River, and hiking and biking miles and miles of trails throughout Mississippi and Alabama.

    "They have camped in all kinds of weather conditions including rain and four inches of snow," said Corey. Their experiences have challenged them, made them grow, made them work as a team, taught them to try again and again when they fell short, and taught them that it takes hard work to succeed."

    Eagle Scout Bios:

Zachary Corey

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Backpacking, Shotgun Shooting, Wilderness Survival

Hardest Merit Badge: Backpacking

Favorite Scouting Trip: Swimming in the Boiling River at Yellowstone National Park.

Eagle Scout Project: Constructions of a 40-ft bridge over a ditch at Northeast Soccer Fields

Merit Badges Earned: 49

LA Gidden

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Lifesaving, Shotgun Shooting, Wilderness Survival

Hardest Merit Badge: Environmental Science

Favorite Scouting Trip: USS Alabama Campouts and Backpacking in the mountains of Philmont for two weeks.

Eagle Scout Project: Grading & Drainage Work, & Landscape Tree Planting at Lamar School.

Merit Badges Earned: 33

Caleb Landrum

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Personal Fitness, Music, Wilderness Survival

Hardest Merit Badge: Environmental Science

Favorite Scouting Trip: Rock Climbing & Repelling & Hiking at Philmont

Eagle Scout Project: Demolition, Reconstruction & Painting of the High School Band Bleachers at Southeast High School.

Merit Badges Earned: 31

Rhett Spivey

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Shotgun Shooting , Lifesaving, Wilderness Survival

Hardest Merit Badge: Surveying

Favorite Scouting Trip: National Scout Jamboree with 50,000 scouts from across the country

Eagle Scout Project: Landscaping & Decorating of the Interior Courtyard and Northwest Junior High School.

Merit Badges Earned: 33

Jacob Follin

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Climbing, Aviation, Shotgun Shooting

Hardest Merit Badge: Signaling

Favorite Scouting Trip: Hiking the Trials & Climbing the peaks of the Rocky Mountains at Philmont.

Eagle Scout Project: Cancer Awareness & Education Campaign.

Merit Badges Earned: 34

Andrew Culpepper

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Canoeing, Aviation, Camping

Hardest Merit Badge: Communications

Favorite Scouting Trip: Viewing the Geysers and exploring the wonders of Yellowstone National Park for a week.

Eagle Scout Project: Painting of the Football Field house at Russell Christian School

Merit Badges Earned: 32

Jake Purvis

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Shotgun Shooting, Aviation, Lifesaving

Hardest Merit Badge: Lifesaving

Favorite Scouting Trip: Hiking to the WWII Airplane wreckage on top of one of the Mountain Peaks at Philmont Scout Ranch.

Eagle Scout Project: Coordinating Collections & Distribution of the Wesley House Holiday Canned Food Drive.

Merit Badges Earned: 40

William Linder

Favorite 3 Merit Badges: Wilderness Survival, Personal Management, Entrepreneurship

Hardest Merit Badge: All 3 Citizenship Badges

Favorite Scouting Trip: Scuba Diving at the National Jamboree

Eagle Scout Project: Preparing and Repainting 1000-ft of parking lot railing at Northeast Park Soccer Fields.

Merit Badges Earned: 24