WIESBADEN, Germany - "Exhilarating."

That's how William Heiges II described the feeling of having attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Heiges, a senior at Wiesbaden High School, captain of the Warriors football team and a senior patrol leader for Troop 107, said while his path to Scouting's highest rank took some twists and turns, having earned Eagle was a big step. While he didn't take Scouting all that seriously in the beginning, he said, as he matured he realized the value of skills learned through Scouting in all aspects of life.

"I learned valuable skills -- especially the skill of interacting with other people. … I realized I couldn't be as shy," he said. "It helped me a lot in Scouts and in everything I do."

Heiges and two other members of Boy Scout Troop 107 -- Maxwell Sarsok and Robert Kem -- were honored during Eagle Scout Court of Honor at the Hainerberg Chapel Oct. 5. On hand to welcome and congratulate the new Eagles were fellow Eagles, parents, siblings and friends.

"It makes me feel great," said Troop 107 Scoutmaster Jeff Stone. "We've had a lot of Eagle Scouts over the years. I'm proud of all of them. It's a diverse group of men."

Citing the national average of around 5 percent of all Boy Scouts who eventually earn the Eagle Scout rank, Stone said it was notable that out of the 176 boys who have been members of Troop 107 since 2003, 55 are Eagles.

"It's tough. It takes perseverance," Stone said. "It takes a lot of work.

"We've got a good troop and a great program," he said, adding that having parental support and mentoring by service members and other community members is invaluable. "It's an organization where they're going to learn leadership, service and the value of hard work. … The older Scouts and other Eagles are great role models."

"I could never have done this myself," said Kem, while thanking his fellow Scouts, mentors and family for helping him achieve the prestigious Scouting honor.

The Wiesbaden High School sophomore, whose service project was building duck nesting boxes for a series of ponds near Wiesbaden Army Airfield, said the friends he has made through Scouting was among the highlights of having been a Scout since kindergarten.

"I just wish my dad was here," he said, explaining that while his father, Col. John Kem, was deployed to Afghanistan, they communicated frequently. "He's really happy that I made it."
Sarsok, the son of Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph and Susan Sarsok, described making Eagle as "awesome. It felt great to be finally done with it."

The grandson of an Eagle Scout, Sarsok's project was renovating a vandalized picnic shelter in Nackenheim. The Wiesbaden High junior is active in cross country, the National Honor Society and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Like Heiges, his advice to fellow Scouts wishing to earn the rank was to stay on track and "keep on pushing through."

"Becoming an Eagle Scout is a great honor," said Curtis Parker, one of the adult Eagle mentors and Scout leaders on hand to welcome the new Eagles. "Being an Eagle Scout is a great responsibility."

"The trail does not end here," added Stone, during remarks. "There is no such thing as a former Eagle Scout."

For more information on Scouting opportunities with Troop 107, call Jeff Stone at mil 337-6191 or email jeff.stone1@us.army.mil.

Page last updated Wed October 19th, 2011 at 02:28