Two Oak Lawn Teens Reach Rank of Eagle Scout

A ceremony more than a decade in the making took place Saturday as two Oak Lawn boys achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor in Scouting.

Friends and family gathered at St. Linus Church in Oak Lawn to see Donald McKenna III, 17, and Mitchell Schroeder, 18, “cross over” and become Eagle Scouts.

Only two of every 100 boys who join Scouts become Eagle Scouts, according to the Boy Scouts of America. McKenna and Schroeder had been planning for a long time to graduate to that rank together as friends.

“I remember 11 years ago, Don told his other Scouts he would be an Eagle Scout, and he did it,” said Donald McKenna II, Don’s father and a fellow Eagle Scout of 39 years.

The two boys started Scouts when they were 6 and learned the fundamentals of Scouting, including receiving various merit badges for activities such as camping, archery and art, and citizenship in the community.

Each boy also had to complete an Eagle service project. Schroeder planned and produced a charity drive for Soles4Souls, collecting shoes for the needy. McKenna constructed a memorial garden for Park Lawn Center in Alsip.

“Despite all the fun, getting here to be an Eagle Scout took a lot of work,” McKenna said. “It took about a year to plan my project.”

The ceremony highlighted the boys’ many accomplishments in Scouts. Members of their troop, Troop 1615 of Oak Lawn, were on hand for the ceremony.

Some keys to their journey were the bonds and friendships formed among Scouts, and relying on each other to accomplish this distinguished goal.

“As we got older, we became more of a leader in the troop. Donny was extremely supportive and even waited a year to become an Eagle Scout so he could do it with me. He is a great friend,” Schroeder said.

The boys are to graduate high school in May and plan to start college later this year.

“At a lot of colleges, there is a National Eagle Scout Association which I might join to meet other Eagles,” Schroeder said.

Eagle Scouts have moved on to do big things career-wise. Movie director Steven Spielberg, astronaut Neil Armstrong and various members of Congress are Eagle Scouts.

Both McKenna and Schroeder said they plan to use the responsibilities and leadership skills they learned through the Scouts in all aspects of their life.

[Via: The Southtown Star]

About Allison Matyus