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Five Eagle Scouts from Troop 312

In less than a year, five young men have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, all from the same Troop 312 in Montrose

By Doug Voerding

Since 1991, twenty-six years-ago, eighteen young men of the Montrose Boy Scout Troop 312 have earned the top award of Eagle Scout.

But, highly unusual, five of those have been within the last year.

With high energy and a strong commitment to serving others and their community, Kyle Anderson, Kaleb Gilson, Ty Heckenlaible, James Kesler, and Riley Pfau all achieved Eagle Scout within the last eight months. All are seniors at Buffalo High School.

Boy Scout Scoutmaster Brian Gilson said, "This is a remarkable feat achieved by our small troop this past year."

"That is a testament to our youth," said Boy Scout Committee member Greg Youmans. "It takes tenacity to achieve Eagle Scout. And it is also a testament to the Boy Scout leaders and the boys' parents. It has been an amazing year with these dedicated boys."


Becoming an Eagle Scout

Becoming an Eagle Scout is a major achievement for a young man. Only about five percent of Boy Scouts ever earn that rank.

The requirements are quite demanding, and scouts must demonstrate a wide variety of skills, all before their eighteenth birthday.

After beginning as a Tenderfoot at age 10, boys earn advancement to Second Class, First Class, Star Scout, and Life Scout. The Life Scout Rank requires eleven merit badges.

To advance to Eagle Scout, the scout must complete another ten merit badges. Some of the required merit badges include first aid, citizenship, communication, cooking, personal fitness, camping, family life, environmental science, and personal management.

Along with the merit badges, the scouts must participate in leadership roles and complete an Eagle Scout service project.

The project requires detailed planning. Meetings are held with all those involved in the project, including an approval meeting with the District Committee. The Scout must find needed funds and the materials for the project.

All of the Montrose Boy Scout Eagle projects can be seen in Montrose and along County Road 12 between Montrose and Buffalo.


Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson loves nature, so he planted four trees in each of three parks in Montrose. The trees were not just any trees, but Honeycrisp and State Fair apple trees.

"I wanted to provide extra food for the community," said Kyle.

Kyle presented his plan to Otten Brothers Garden Center and asked if they would donate the trees. After making sure that Kyle understood how to plant the trees and keep them growing, Otten Brothers did donate the twelve trees.

Kyle said that the trees were started in 2013 and expects to see blossoms and some fruit this year.

In the fall, Kyle will be attending either St. Cloud State University or Minnesota State University, Mankato, to study geology, anthropology, or paleontology.


Ty Heckenlaible

Ty Heckenliable was out for a bike ride on the County Road 12 trail from Montrose to Buffalo.

"There was no place to sit and rest," said Ty. So, he went to Wright County Parks and asked about putting benches at scenic spots along the trail.

Not only did Wright County agree with the need, the county provided the materials for three benches and the forms to construct permanent cement bases. For extra help, Ty enlisted the assistance of Al Jordan, who provided equipment for the pouring of the cement.

Now walkers, runners, and bikers have places to sit and rest along the trail.

Ty enjoys whitewater kayaking on the Tomahawk River at Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp in Wisconsin. He has also participated with the  Order of the Arrow ceremonial team.


Kaleb Gilson

Seeing a need, Kaleb Gilson constructed a stone circle around the flagpole at the VFW Post 1901 on the east side of Montrose on Highway 12.

"The flagpole was there," said Kaleb, "but to put up the flag, the VFW members had to sometimes walk through mud to get to the flagpole. I built a much-needed platform around the flagpole."

Kaleb started in Cub Scouts back in first grade and said, "Scouting has opened lots of doors for me. During the summer, I work for three months at Tomahawk Camp in Wisconsin."

This fall, he will be attending the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, planning to major in meteorology.


James Kesler

James Kesler expanded on to the work of Kaleb. Again working at the VFW Post site, James constructed pathways out from the flagpole circle. Most importantly, the main path is from the cement pad of the Post Home out to the flagpole.

"Now," said James, "there is something solid to walk on when going out to the flagpole."

James started in Boy Scouts in fifth grade. He says his favorite merit badges to earn were for fly fishing and fishing. He also enjoys helping the other scouts with the Eagle Projects.

In the fall, James will be attending Ridgewater College in Willmar for automotives.


Riley Pfau

After determining the need with VFW officers, Riley constructed a fire pit on the Post Home site.

The primary purpose of the pit is for the proper retirement of old American flags.

"But," said Riley, "it can be used by the VFW for recreational fires."

Funds for Riley's project came from the VFW, as well as the Delano American Legion and the Montrose Lions Club.

Riley said that he really enjoyed attending the National Jamboree in West Virginia in 2013. His favorite merit badge work was for the rifling badge, which included rifle usage and target shooting.

Riley will be attending this fall either South Dakota State University or North Dakota State University to major in physical education.


Montrose Troop 312

Youmans said, "This has been an amazing year with these dedicated boys."

According to Youmans, the goal in Scouting, is not to get to Eagle Scout.

He explained, that there are several goals that the boys meet long before reaching the rank of Eagle Scout.

Those goals include proficiency in the outdoors, capable to administer first aid to save themselves and others, an appreciation for the environment, understanding citizenship and giving back to the community, and developing character.

These five young men have clearly achieved those goals and have gone beyond and committed themselves to reaching Eagle Scout.


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