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Scouts Earn Top Honor

Four recognized at Our Lady of Mercy

Potomac's Boy Scout Troop 706 inducted four new Eagle Scouts at a Court of Honor ceremony at Our Lady of Mercy Church June 11.

Ryan McGowan, Thierry Peters, Erik Schaeffer, and Kenneth Yale, all of Potomac, were raised to the rank of Eagle Scout. Among requirements to reach the highest rank in scouting, each boy performed an act of service to qualify for this honor.

McGowan, a 2005 Winston Churchill High School graduate, will attend Salisbury University in the fall. He has been a lifeguard at Potomac Swim and Tennis Club for the past four years, and participates in football, swimming, rugby, tennis and track. He has taught computer skills to homeless mothers at the Dorothy Day Center, ladled soup for the homeless at Martha's Table, and tutored students at Potomac Elementary. He has also interned for a judge in 6th Judicial Circuit Court of Maryland. Ryan enjoys travel and has hiked in California, Colorado, Montana and Utah, and has been on safari in Botswana, Africa. For his Eagle Project, Ryan supervised the restoration of the Marsden Tract Campground in the C&O Canal National Historical Park.

THIERRY PETERS is a sophomore at Walt Whitman High School, where he plays trumpet in Whitman's symphonic band. Thierry has completed 240 hours of community service. He won several medals on his way to a Tae Kwon Do blue belt and plays soccer. Thierry's Eagle Project involved clearing a 60 by 80-foot area of alien plants and loose brush from the Locust Grove Nature Center in Potomac. He has lived in Australia and Luxembourg, has visited Belgium, Fiji, France, Germany, Switzerland, Thailand and the United Kingdom, and speaks Luxembourgish and some French, and is in honors Spanish. Thierry currently works at Strosniders in Potomac Village.

Erik Schaeffer, a junior at Churchill, is a member of the math team, chess team, and the "It's Academic" team. He also belongs to the Academy of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Churchill , and plays the cello in the symphonic orchestra. For his Eagle Project, Erik designed a method for audio recording at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, so that those who are unable to attend services, can still listen to the homilies, readings, music and other special events.

Kenneth Yale, Jr. attends college full time, works at Chevy Chase Bank and is a volunteer firefighter at Station 3 in Rockville. He drives the ambulance and has been the officer in charge when manning the fire trucks. Yale not only actively participated in Troop 706, he was also an Explorer with Post 521 where he became a First Responder. He completed more than 375 service hours. Yale was one of the original six Boy Scouts to organize Troop 706 at Our Lady of Mercy in 1996 at the age of 11. For his Eagle Project, Ken placed an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator at Our Lady of Mercy and organized the training of volunteers for CPR/AED certification.

Although the four scouts earned their Eagle badges at separate times throughout the last year and a half, they waited until all could receive the award together.

THE EAGLE CEREMONY Call to Order was performed by Daniel Ruthenburg-Marshall of Potomac, Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 706. The Eagle Scouts and the assembled parents, relatives and friends were welcomed by Troop 706 members, including Eagle Scouts Chris Brown, Rusty Brown, James Barrett, and Michael Pappas.

Father Donald Worch, pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Church, gave a speech, while Boy Scout Vincent Falcone led the opening prayer. Also attending were Father William English and Monsignor William Awalt of Our Lady of Mercy.

Life Scout Robert Soto of Potomac talked about the meaning of the rank of Eagle Scout. Troop 706 Scouts Pappas, Nick Krug, Eric Peters, and Ned Yale also participated in the ceremony.

Ralph Fairbanks, Scoutmaster of the troop, presented the Eagle Scouts with their medals, as well as several letters of recognition from community, state, and national leaders.

Troop 706 has 55 scouts between the ages of 12 and 17. It is one of the largest and most active troops in the National Capital Area Council.