Four scouts are preparing to receive their organization’s highest rank, the Eagle Scout Award, during a special ceremony Sept. 7 in the Fellowship Hall at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division Street, River Forest.
Troop 66 will conduct an Eagle Court of Honor beginning at 2:00 p.m. to recognize the achievements of Anthony Brennan, Riley Conrardy, Jimmy McAllister and Jack Phifer. Brennan is a senior at St. Ignatius College Prep, while Conrardy and Phifer are a junior and senior, respectively, at Oak Park River Forest High School, and McAllister is a senior at Fenwick High School.
To become an Eagle Scout, a scout must progress through six prior ranks and earn 21 merit badges in a variety of disciplines. Scouts are also required to serve in multiple leadership positions in the troop, demonstrate scout spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, develop and give leadership during an Eagle service project, and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.
Brennan’s Eagle project was a thank you gift to the YMCA for hosting and facilitating The Best Type Diabetes Support Group, of which he is a member. With the help of support group members, fellow scouts and family, Brennan thanked the YMCA for helping the group “build a healthier tomorrow” by creating a wall hanging that features wooden tiles decorated with member self-portraits and depictions of group activities. The Best Type Diabetes Support Group meets monthly at the YMCA and offers a forum to discuss each family’s experience with the diagnosis and management of Type 1 diabetes.
Conrardy’s Eagle project took off where his older brother’s left off. Conrardy re-designed highly reflective strips for stop sign posts in River Forest. With the help of fellow scouts and adults, he made and installed over 100 new strips, and re-installed another 50 older strips which were becoming loose after several years. These red stop sign posts reflect the headlights of oncoming cars, making the village safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, without adding light pollution in the neighborhoods.
McAllister chose to make a difference in the lives of adults with autism. With the help of his family and fellow scouts, a work crew of 20 people helped make ready the newest PACTT residential home in Oak Park by painting the meeting rooms and basement hallways. PACTT provides educational, residential, and vocational programs to people with severe autism and their families. His project was chosen in memory of the charitable nature of his grandmother, Mary Kay McAllister.
Phifer’s Eagle project involved painting the main distribution room at the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. The Phifer Family regularly volunteers at the pantry, which provides much-needed food to thousands of local residents. The facility (located in the lower level of First United Church of Oak Park) was in serious need of fresh paint. Phifer coordinated the prep and painting of the main food distribution space, providing leadership for over 30 scouts and adult volunteers. Phifer was also able to coordinate the cleaning and painting of additional walls when the pantry was renovated earlier this summer.
According to the BSA, only 6 percent of all Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank last year. Troop 66 is fortunate to have a thriving group of scouts committed to completing the long and difficult trail to Eagle.