Four local Boy Scouts were awarded their Eagle Scout honors on Monday during the Troop Five Annual Banquet. Peter Obluda, 17, Zachary Phillips, 17, Kyle Turner, 15 and Rivers Vallier, 18 were each honored for the highest achievement in Boy Scout ranks.
It was a long time coming as the honor had been put on hold for a year because of the pandemic.
Troop Five, which meets at First United Methodist Church, is one of the oldest troops in the country dating back to 1911. “We have a long tradition in the Lake Charles community,” David Vogel, scoutmaster, said.
To be honored as an Eagle Scout, scouts must earn 21 merit badges, complete 20 nights of camping, swim 100 yards, develop citizenship and cooking skills. With over 300 Eagle Scouts rising out of troop five, Vogel said the young men honored on Monday are to be celebrated as “hard-core outdoorsmen.”
Obluda recalled an intense hike in Canada with the troop covering over 100 miles, camping and carrying all gear. “You can’t give up. There’s no turning back,” he said.
Such a mentality is common among the four boys and Turner said the group has developed the mind-set together. “It’s a group mentality as soon as you go into the troop because if you’re going to turn back, no one is going back with you.”
The boys recalled another camping incident filled with wrong turns, tire problems, being stranded at a fast food restaurant and even a tornado once arriving at camp. With laughter, Vogel agreed with the boys saying, “Yeah, we probably should not have done that camp but we don’t quit.”
“After all, life’s not always good weather. We don’t always have everything go smoothly in life,” he said.
The life skills taught through scouting proved to be the boy’s proudest merit badge moments. Obluda said his personal management badge is a source of pride. “You have to earn money over the course of a month, keep track of everything and it takes a lot of time. But it teaches you a lot a personal accountability.”
Vallier recalled the moment his first aid badge came in handy helping a friend who fell of a ladder. Vallier had to carry the friend down two flights of stairs. “It came useful a whole lot then,” he said.
Turner’s personal fitness badge ingrained in him the importance of routine. “You have to have a workout routine for three months or so. It’s constant. You have to think about it every day after you’ve done everything else...But it’s good to have routine and actually follow through,” he said.
Phillips was the most proud of his fishing and wildlife badge he earned while studying at a wildlife refuge. “We learned about all the types of birds we have in Louisiana and some birds that have come over and migrated to the south.”
In addition to their merit badges, Boy Scouts must complete a final project and corresponding documentation to become an Eagle Scout. Phillips and Turner volunteered to renovate portions of the Lions Camp for Crippled Children in Anacoco, LA. Phillips poured a concrete slab to help children get across the archery range and Turner outfitted the camp’s pavilion with new lights, a fan and siding.
Rivers insulated a shipping a crate that was sent to Cambodia to serve a mobile hospital for his project and Turner created an “oreinteering course” for scouts to enjoy at Sam Houston Park.
“It’s just been so many great life skills,” Obluda said expressing his pride at the accomplishment. “Little every day things add up to big important things and big decisions.”