Vaughn has had a Boy Scout Troop in the area since the late 1940s.
Don Mills was in Troop 95, led by Wes Davidson. He never made the Eagle rank, but tells stories of those Scouts hiking in the Olympic mountains.
Matthew Mills and his brothers, sons of Don, belonged to Troop 213, under the leadership of Bob Beal, Bob Downen, Steve Wood and then Mills. Mills was the only one to reach Eagle and knows of only one other from Troop 213: Cecil Beal.
Mill’s son, Kelson, is a third-generation Vaughn Scout.
Boy Scout Troop 220 was started by Bill Macaras, Lethanial Ray and Mark Burris. They held their first summer camp in 1996. Under their leadership, and that of John Odell as Scoutmaster when Macaras retired, during the past 18 years, 19 boys have reached Eagle rank.
Troop 220 is poised to add another 12 Eagles to the roster.
Ryan Barry, Timmie Calhoun, Jon Crane, Kyle Fritchman, Brendan Greetham, Kelson Mills, Michael Odell, Collin Pernu, Evan Pernu, Kevin Pszczola, Alex Ramirez and Nicholas Wiklund will be completing the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout.
Eagle Scout demands are extensive, with approximately 74 requirements covering first aid, menu planning and cooking, route finding, fitness and woodsman skills for a boy to attain. These include active participation in their troop, community service projects, a minimum of 21 merit badges and troop leadership positions.
Barry, Crane, Mills, Pszczola and Ramirez spent their Cub Scout career in Den 2 with Pack 222, which is still very active on the Key Peninsula. The original den consisted of 14 boys aged 7 and 8. They rode the school bus home to meet at Mills’s shop building for den meetings. Other after school activities took more and more of their time until Den 2 was left with only five, all ready to finish their last required merit badges, leadership positions and service projects.
Seven others will complete their requirements to attain that coveted Eagle rank within the next two years.
“As a proud Eagle Scout, wearing the badge (now a knot because I’m all grown up) is both an honor and a responsibility. What we learned in Scouts taught us perseverance, courage, humility and honor. When people hear that I’m an Eagle, they expect more and better. It’s a challenge I gladly try to answer. It doesn’t make us better than anyone (but) does prepare us to be better men … to ask more of ourselves than others will. And it’s a lot of fun,” Matthew Wills said.
Mills believes it’s important to give back to Scouting, and is now Troop 220’s Scoutmaster.
As a troop high-adventure guide for the past several summers, he always encourages his Scouts to pursue their Eagle, he said.
“I just attended two Eagle Courts of Honor for the Scouts from my troop. Luke Vander Poel and Scott Odell were about 14 years old when I met them, they are 18 and have achieved Eagle. It means a great deal to me that I played a small part in their lives on that long road,” Mills said.
“Being an Eagle Scout is being the example not just for younger Scouts, but for everyone around me,” Mills said.
“It’s not just holding doors and helping little old ladies cross the street, but being the one to stand up and say ‘I’ll take care of it’ when something goes wrong, or being the one who stops at an accident and knows what to do beyond calling 911. It’s taking blame and giving praise, being the first one to start working and the last one to quit. Simply put, to me, being an Eagle Scout is being a true man,” he said.