By Anna Lothson
The motto, "Once an Eagle, always an Eagle" most Boys Scouts abide by.
Rob Breymaier, executive director of the Oak Park Regional Housing Center, however, no longer wants the title. The longtime scout has ties with the troop dating back 25 years — he was an adult troop leader for 10 years. After the recent announcement from the Boy Scouts of America organization reaffirming its anti-gay policy for troop leaders and scouts, the Oak Parker knew he had to break his affiliation with the organization he once loved.
"I could no longer not do anything," Breymaier said. "It was the final nail in the coffin."
Previously, he assumed it was an old-fashioned policy that would catch up with the times. When the decision was actively reaffirmed, he was infuriated and embarrassed.
"I thought it would change when it had the chance. I thought people were more enlightened," Breymaier said.
He insists he's not the first and only person who has turned in their Eagle Scout medals and expects many more will join the protest.
His gesture, he said, is about basic civil rights. The decision doesn't disregard the Boy Scouts entirely, he said, since he believes in its overall purpose. Instead, he's hoping leaders will listen to the public outrage and change its stance.
"If it weren't for the policy, the Boy Scouts of America is a great program for kids —for leadership development, learning how to give back to community, for growing as an adult," Breymaier said. "That's what held me back from [giving back my medal] before."
Last Friday, Breymaier officially mailed in the medal to the Texas headquarters with a letter expressing his discontent.
He's optimistic actions like this can spark change.
Until that happens though, he's not putting his son back in the Cub Scouts. He and some other parents have chosen to create an alternative group.
"If that policy changes, I'll happily go back," Breymaier said. "I really hope that happens sooner rather than later."