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April 1, 2009 > A New Eagle Scout

A New Eagle Scout

By Simon Wong

Union City's Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 110 convened an Eagle Scout Court of Honor on March 28 to formally confer the rank of Eagle Scout on Russell Allen Bowerman and present his Eagle Badge and Eagle neckerchief.

Friends, family, members of Troop 110 and other Eagle Scouts gathered at the Veterans Hall in Fremont to pay tribute and celebrate his achievement.

"Eagle Scout, the highest rank in boy scouting, is a lifelong title. So, 'once an Eagle, always an Eagle.' The requirements include earning at least twenty-one merit badges, a dozen of which are compulsory and the remainder elective," explained Unit Commissioner Bill Fournell.

Bowerman's elective merit badges are Aviation, Computers, Cooking, Electricity, Fingerprinting, Fish & Wildlife Management, Fishing, Geology, Music, Pioneering, Shotgun Shooting, Small Boat Sailing, Space Exploration and Traffic Safety.

Candidates must also undertake an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project to demonstrate leadership and commitment to duty for the community's benefit. The project cannot simply be a fund-raising effort or a commercial venture and the BSA, an individual or business should not be the beneficiary.

Bowerman supervised a group of volunteers to build sand trays with movable carts for therapists with the City of Fremont Youth & Family Counseling and the City of Fremont Police Department. Emotionally traumatized children can communicate and heal through sand play. His team also constructed bookcases/shelving to store the play items.

"It took five years to reach this stage. The idea for the project was born of necessity. The City of Fremont needed this equipment but had no funding so this was an ideal opportunity to provide it and benefit the community," said Bowerman.

"On the theoretical side, there is a lot of preparation. First, you present your idea to someone in the troop for evaluation and approval, then set down the project plan on paper - how you will accomplish your goal, costs, man hours, dates - for approval by a troop member and subsequent approval by a council member. The work is in the revisions to the planning and design before each approval.

"I consulted my father and the City about designs, materials and dimensions and drafted plans; that took time. The entire project lasted about two years. I had some carpentry experience from helping other scouts with their projects," he explained.

"This means a lot. It was interesting to hear everyone speak. I attended Eagle Courts of Honor when I was younger and understood my goal was to become an Eagle Scout but it wasn't until today that I realized I'd finally achieved it. In hindsight, I've done and learned a lot. The badge and title are nice to have but the skills I've learned are also for life," concluded the new Eagle Scout.

"This is a rare achievement and testament to Russell's own dedication and hard work and his family's moral support. It is only fitting that a formal ceremony at which we recognize his achievement of this rank should be a memorable one," said Ted Mutch, Adult Leader, Troop 110.

Bowerman presented his parents, Sue and Marvin, with Eagle pins in recognition of their support.

Mayor Mark Green, Union City, issued a Proclamation from the City Council honoring and congratulating him. Mayor Green also stressed the importance of scouts' skills in the event of a disaster. They complement those of the Bay Area's Community Emergency Response Teams and he urged scoutmasters to continue to train their scouts well.

Last year, Bowerman graduated from James Logan High School. He performed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Marching Band. He is now a Music Major (trombonist) at UCLA and expects to graduate in 2012. As yet, his choice of career is undecided but music, flying and politics are areas of interest.

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