Not many Boy Scouts reach the pinnacle of their membership by achieving the rank of Eagle.
And that makes Mesa Troop 565’s achievement all the more impressive.
The troop, chartered to St. Timothy Catholic Church, fielded an even dozen Eagle Scouts from across the East Valley last year.
To put that achievement in perspective, Bryan on Scouting blog author Bryan Wendell estimates that only 2 percent of all Scouts have attained Eagle rank since the award was created in 1912. The Troop 565 Scouts who earned Eagle rank last year made up 24 percent of their group.
They also belong to what is the largest class of class of Eagles since 2013 and the fourth largest in the BSA’s 108-year history, parent Conni Knoblach said.
Though the 12 boys came from five different Cub Scout packs when they became old enough to become Boy Scouts, “they all have become good friends with each other,” Troop 565 Scoutmaster and Chandler resident Mike Coomer said. “I have no doubt in my mind that these young men will do great things in the future thanks to the skills and adventures that they have had along the way to Eagle.”
Knoblach added: “Every troop is thrilled to celebrate the achievement of an Eagle Scout. However, this troop celebrated on average one Eagle Ranked Scout a month this past year, a year that they will not soon forget.”
Since it started at St. Timothy Catholic Church in 1991, Troop 565 has produced a total of 49 Eagle Scouts.
Eagle Scout is a lifelong rank and the highest in the BSA program. Scouts must progress through the six ranks, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, prove leadership qualities and plan and execute a major service project to benefit the community.
Combined, the 12 Troop 565 Eagle Scouts served 11 community organizations with more than 1,800 hours of community service. They earned more than 375 merit badges, and seven of them joined the Order of the Arrow – a kind of Boy Scout honor society that recognizes Scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law and lead a life of cheerful service to others.
Three of the Scouts received the BSA Triple Crown award, earned by attending all three of the BSA High Adventures. Two received the BSA Medal of Merit award, which was given for meritorious service above and beyond when they helped rescue an injured hiker at the secluded end of the Grand Canyon, at Havasupai Falls.
Parent Joe Milburn, an Eagle Scout and Eagle adviser for the troop, said the dozen boys’ success is partly the result of “a strong outdoor program with a variety of scheduled outings each month that kept the Scouts active and involved.”
Kristine Steinmetz, an Eagle parent, said she appreciates the “close partnership that the Scouts develop while working together.
“When they are having fun, it becomes easy to motivate each other and keep going,” she added.
And parent Angie Almanza appreciates the entire Scout program because it “teaches our sons to become knowledgeable young men of character that will help them in their adult years.”
None of this surprises Coomer, who noted, “Not having been a Boy Scout myself, I learned the skills that I helped teach right alongside with these boys. I had a great time watching them do their thing and hone their skills.”
The 12 Eagle Scouts and their projects are:
Robert Buessing, son of Maureen Buessing of Chandler, painted and equipped a basketball court for Hospice of the Valley.
Johnny Kominska, son of Mike and Cindy Kominska of Tempe, built a playground sun/shade structure for Prescott Valley Elementary School.
Alex Knoblach, son of Gerald and Conni Knoblach of Chandler, built a 60-foot retaining wall with railroad ties and landscape and area for the Arizona Railway Museum;
Spencer Steinmetz, son of David and Kristine Steinmetz of Chandler, helped the House of Refuge renovate the yards of homes and added flowers, plants and watering systems.
Benjamin Stanley, son of Rose Stanley of Chandler, built a small-dog training area for Friends for Life Rescue in Gilbert.
H. Geryk, son of Bailey Freed of Chandler, converted a kitchen into a storage area, installing new flooring and other infrastructure at St. Mary Basha Elementary School.
L. Kelly, son of Melanie and Mathew Kelly of Chandler, built an extra-large donation bin and filled it with supplies for Maggie’s Place.
Ben Campbell, son of Jeff and Christina Campbell of Chandler, installed a paver walkway outside St. Mary Basha Elementary classrooms.
Noah Almanza, son of Ruben and Angie Almanza of Mesa, helped the Dobson High School Future Farmers of America Club by building a wooden garden and tables for the green house.
Solomon Milburn, son of Joe and Terri Milburn of Gilbert, gave Mesquite High School a bit of a facelift by building benches and tables for the auditorium foyer.
Mac Coomer, son of Mike and Lynn Coomer of Chandler, helped Child Crisis Arizona by collecting hygiene items for toddlers.
Ryan Kilde, son of Dan and Kim Kilde of Chandler aided the Paz de Cristo Community Center with a collection of clothing and hygiene items and raising money for the Paz Homeless Shower program.