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Panther becomes eagle

Troop sets pole

 Can a panther be an eagle? Yes he can…he can be a Boy Scout Eagle. Gaston Outen, an eighth grade Piedmont Middle School panther, recently received the highest honor a young man can earn in Boy Scouts of America-The Eagle Award. Gaston started in Scouting in first grade as the rank of Tiger and maintained his membership in Scouting throughout elementary and middle school while participating in football, wrestling and his shooting team as well as being active in his church with mission projects and youth activities.
His Eagle project took a year of planning and coordinating with the Charter of his Troop, the Sam F. Keziah Unionville American Legion Post 535. Gaston organized his Troop to assist with the installation of the Post flagpole to mark the future site of the new Legion Post located on US Highway 601N next to Benton’s Crossroads Baptist Church which hosts his Boy Scout Troop. “This summer we (the Post and Troop) cleared the property and burned the trees that were removed. We had a hole dug, poured the concrete and had to cut the base for the pole to sit in. I also arranged the donation of all the materials including the sand, bricks, the flagpole and the electrical box so the flag could be lit at night. The pole was heavy, but we (the Troop) all picked it up to set it in that hole. I learned how to lay brick too. It was a great experience and I’m proud to have contributed something for my community. My grandfather and my dad are founding members of the Post which means a lot to me to belong to this too.” The Post will recognize Gaston’s efforts along with his Troop at an upcoming flag-raising and groundbreaking ceremony.
Through Scouting, Gaston discovered his career passion to become an automotive or mechanical engineer. He built and raced pinewood derby cars achieving racing success at his Cub Pack level, his District level (Union County) and his Council level which includes eight counties. Gaston said, “Because of the success I had in my derby car racing, I was asked to help prepare, set up the track and run the races for a few Cub Packs. I was also invited to help setup and operate our District races at Iron Horse Motorcycles and our Council races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ZMax Track!”
Scouting also introduced Gaston to his love of shooting sports. His experience helped him become the number one in archery on his school team. “I want to take ROTC in high school and have even considered entering the military to see if these skills can benefit my future career.”
In addition to racing, his favorite memories include camping and attending the Boy Scout National Jamboree in West Virginia the summer of 2013 with 40,000 Boy Scouts from across the USA and around the world. “We had a group from Korea tenting next to us. That was cool!” he commented.
Gaston Outen has joined the ranks of a select few. Only 2% of all young men who begin in Scouting ever attain the rank of Eagle. Earning his Eagle Award is not an ending point, but rather a beginning. This is an honor which he will proudly carry with him the rest of his life as he becomes a leader of tomorrow.

Written by: Karen Barbee
Posted: Jan 15, 2014 by Karen Barbee

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