Three Winchester teens promoted to Eagle Scout

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Boy Scouts of America (BSA) recognizes Eagle Scout as the highest rank available, having first been issued in the early 20th century. 

As of Saturday, April 13, three local Winchester residents are newly recognized as such. 

During a commencement ceremony at Winchester First United Methodist Church, George Rogers Clark High School students Dylan Coomer, John Gamble and Josh McCoy of Troop 75 were awarded the honors following a lifetime of service to BSA. 

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“It’s very surreal because just a few years ago, it felt like we were watching all the other boys in our troop being pinned,” said McCoy.

“I just can’t believe it. I’m beyond proud of my two fellow Eagle Scouts as well,” said Coomer. 

The three have known and worked together for several years. 

“It’s amazing. I’ve known these [guys] my whole life,” added Gamble. “I [have] spent hours and hours with them…[and] always thought of them as brothers. It’s incredible.”  

Near the beginning of the ceremony, Troop 75 Scout Director Brad Mills spoke. 

“When a boy becomes an Eagle Scout, they’re instilled within them a spirit of scouting,” Mills said. “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, keen, and reverent.” 

Scout ranks ascend in an ordered fashion, with all boys who enter scouts earning a scout badge yet only approximately four percent achieving Eagle Scout.

Requirements include receiving a bare minimum of 21 merit badges, demonstrating the Scout Spirit – a code of conduct expected of all scouts in BSA, and – perhaps most notably – completing a service project. 

Eddie Williams, Committee Chair for Troop 75, explained.

 “They plan, develop, and [must] show leadership of a service project which [is] helpful to their school or community,” he said. “The project is one of the last major hurdles that a scout has.” 

Once the project is approved, fundraising and other actions must often take place. 

With all three Eagle Scouts being associated with the GRC Marching Band, an opportunity to help the school came quickly to two of them. 

“My project was to replace the wheels on the scaffolding, which had been used for three years beforehand…some of them were literally flattened down to almost nothing.” Coomer said. “I got the wheels donated by Lowe’s of Winchester and we planned a date and knocked it out and got them on there. It was a world of difference pushing the scaffolding once the wheels were on.” 

“I refurbished our uniform boxes which we take to every contest to carry uniforms…so we don’t lose them or damage them,” Gamble said. “I added new paint, new hardware lights, [and] shoe boxes we didn’t have before.” 

Showing a commitment to serving the community, McCoy chose a project in collaboration with God’s Pantry Food Bank that will benefit the organization. 

“I organized some in the Clark County Public Schools and did targeted drives in neighborhoods where we picked up from houses and dropped off, which…was very successful and hadn’t been tried before,” McCoy said. “As a second part of that project, we sorted all that food for distribution to their member food banks, [where] we ended up having over 1,000 pounds total.” 

After receiving their Eagle Scout badges, a ceremonial dinner took place in the dining room of the church with the scouts’ various memorabilia and accomplishments shown throughout. 

Not only have the Scouts made their mark in Winchester, but all three look forward to continuing with making their mark in the future. 

While McCoy plans to attend the University of the Cumberlands to study biology and shows interest in medical school, Coomer will be attending Morehead State University to study radiology. 

Gamble’s future plans include attending the University of Kentucky School of Engineering for aerospace studies.