These seven friends are going places.
By JEANNE STARMACK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD — They tied him up with life jackets and rolled him down a hill.
No big thing — it was actually pretty fun, said Mark Hahn, one of seven Eagle Scouts from Boy Scout Troop 115 in Canfield who graduated high school this year.
His fellow Eagle Scout Aaron Kwolek had one second-guess, though.
Maybe the bucket on Mark’s head was a bit much.
But if Mark and his friends were able to endure 5-foot swells in Ontario’s Georgian Bay, in a storm, in canoes, with yachts going by, then maybe the bucket wasn’t such a big deal, either.
They’ve been through a lot together, these friends, including that weeklong camping and canoeing trip on the French River, where the bay was the halfway point, in the summer of 2004. They’ve taken a few trips to the historic battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa., and spent a night on the USS Little Rock, a World War II guided-missile cruiser that is now a museum in Buffalo, N.Y.
“We went whitewater rafting on the New River,” said Eagle Scout Matt
“We’d have three more Eagles if we hadn’t gone on whitewater rafting trips,” Aaron said.
Tough to achieve
Seven Eagles is plenty from one troop though, when so few Scouts achieve the rank — the organization’s highest. Only about 5 percent who set out to get there do so. Famous Eagles include Gerald Ford, 38th president of the United States; film director Steven Spielberg; TV journalist Walter Cronkite; and William C. DeVries, M.D., who transplanted the first artificial heart.
Like their famous counterparts, Canfield’s newest Eagles are going places.
Six of the seven gathered one June morning at their old meeting place — St. Michael Church. In the meeting room in the church basement, they talked about where they want to go. Scouting, they said, played a role in encouraging them to follow their interests, which include nursing, engineering and business.
“I thought about teaching before,” Matt said. “But as you progress through the ranks, you teach more and more. I worked as a camp counselor. And I found I enjoyed working with kids.” He’ll study education at the University of Akron.
Projects within sight
Outside the church, they sat on the lawn, well within sight of several of their Eagle projects. The projects were required before they earned the award.
Matt helped renovate an old cottage next to the church, which it bought several years ago.
Josh Grossman’s project was adding flower planters, benches and posts to a patio in front of the church.
He used a $1,500 grant from the county Green Team to pay for the project because the planters are made from recycled plastic.
In a church hallway are two showcases that Mark built for trophies. The Scout troop uses one, he said, and the other is for church sports teams.
Chris Barcey’s project was at Greenford Christian Church on Lisbon Road, where he ripped out old concrete steps and poured new ones.
Ryan Bresson did landscaping for St. Edward Church in Youngstown, where he also painted a 40-foot flag pole and built wooden planter boxes.
Kyle Cunningham built a fish identification kiosk at Lake Milton.
And if you’re ever enjoying the courtyard at C.H. Campbell Elementary, think of Aaron.
“They had two ponds. I took out one of the ponds ’cause it was crap.” He filled it in with dirt, landscaped the area and put picnic tables there.
The guys were busy that June morning. “A lot of us have jobs and are varsity athletes,” Mark said.
They left the church to go in different directions, and life will continue to take them that way. But before they left, they agreed: They’ll always have their friendship because of being together in Scouts.