Four Bear Lake scouts attain Eagle status

On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally

Four members of Troop 106 were recently honored with Eagle Scout status recently. Shown (left to right) assistant scoutmaster Sean Adams, Todd Merrill, Jarrod Berard, Avery Mullet, Chris Millard and scoutmaster Jeff Harthun.

Four members of Troop 106 were recently honored with Eagle Scout status recently. Shown (left to right) assistant scoutmaster Sean Adams, Todd Merrill, Jarrod Berard, Avery Mullet, Chris Millard and scoutmaster Jeff Harthun.

awake, and morally straight.

The Scout Oath

BEAR LAKE — The Scout Oath are words that every Boy Scout follows, but at Troop 106 in Bear Lake they seem to resonate an even deeper meaning that includes pride and tradition.

For Avery Mullet, Jarrod Berard, Todd Merrill and Chris Millard the opportunity to reach the pinnacle of scouting occurred when they recently attained Eagle Scout status. At Troop 106, it means joining 48 past members of the troop who earned the same level in the past 63 years.

Scoutmaster Jeff Harthun who himself is an Eagle Scout from the troop and is assisted by Sean Adams another Eagle Scout and Lori Mullet, said having four at one time is not that unusual.

“When Fred Alkire was my scoutmaster and when I became Eagle Scout there were two of us, but he had an Eagle class of 12,” said Harthun. “It is kind of unique to have four kids, but they kind of worked together all the way through.”

Harthun said the true spirit of helping others showed through in this class.

“Jarrod Berard is from Onekama and when Troop 63 over there kind of collapsed he was looking for a troop and came over here,” said Harthun. “Jarrod said ‘I am kind of close to making it, can you help me out?’  He has been with us for a year now.”

Harthun said working with this group of scouts has been a real pleasure.

“This is your next group of leaders,” said Harthun. “There is no doubt in my mind this group will be doing something great some day, so it is going to be fun to watch them grow up.”

Harthun praised the efforts of Lori Mullet, who oversees the younger scouts, as being one of the reasons scouting is still strong in Bear Lake.

“What is really good is with Lori’s help we have a pretty good starting program in Bear Lake,” said Harthun.

He also praised the community support for Boy Scouts in Bear Lake that dates back to 1922 when Troop 22 was created. The Troop continued over the years and changed its troop number, but the focus never changed.

Troop 106 was first chartered by the American Legion on May 25, 1954. Four years later in an impressive ceremony was held at the Ramsdell Theatre to commemorate Eagle status that was earned by Carl Cook, David Merriman and Tom Mallison. They were the first to earn that status and one of those three played a role in this year’s ceremony.

“Tom Mallison who was in that first Eagle group is back living in the area, and he did our Eagle Pledge at our ceremony, which was pretty cool,” Harthun said.

Fred Alkire was the longest serving scoutmaster  for Troop 106 holding that position for 41 years and during his tenure 44 scouts attained the Eagle status. It set a foundation for the strong Eagle Scout program that still exists today.

Harthun said the current scouts are enthusiastic and interested in the program.

“We have a bunch of young scouts coming up right now,” said Harthun. “Two years ago we had a group of older scouts who had already earned all the merit badges they could earn at scout camp. So instead of going to scout camp, we went to Mt. Rushmore and Devil’s Tower and last year we went to Freedom Hall in Philadelphia and Gettysburg. But this year we have a lot of younger scouts so we are going back to scout camp.”

For Avery Mullet, his journey to Eagle Scout spanned his entire time in school.

“I began in kindergarten,” said Mullet. “I liked it because you get to do a lot of different skills not only in the outdoors, but it teaches you to be a better person.”

His Eagle Scout project was to create a nature trail in the Bear Lake School forest on South Shore Drive.

“All eight members of our troop helped with the project,” said Mullet.

Next year he plans to attend West Shore Community College and seek a career in agricultural science.

For fellow Eagle Scout  Todd Merrill said he has enjoyed the things he has learned from scouting.

“I started at about 6 years old with Boy Scouts and went right on up through scouting,” said Merrill. “It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. Camping wise we have done some amazing trips the last couple of years. There is a lot of cool stuff that you learn from scouts.”

Merrill liked the fact that some fellow scouts that he had come up with through the ranks earned Eagle Scout at the same time.

“It was cool to have that happen,” said Merrill. “I know our scoutmaster tried as hard as could to get as many of us as he could, because it would be nice to have us all have our ceremony at the same time.”

Merrill’s project was to build a flower garden at the veteran’s memorial in Pleasanton Township Cemetery.

“My grandma is the Pleasanton Township supervisor and we were kind of brainstorming ideas and she thought it would be a good idea,” Merrill said. “So I talked to Mr. Harthun about it and he thought it was a good idea as well and I went and cleared it with the township board.”

His plans are to attend Northern Michigan University in the fall where he hopes to major in biology and minor in criminal justice. He would like to work as a DNR officer or conservation officer.

“I learned a lot of valuable skills in the time I was in scouting that are going to help me in life,” he said.

Chris Millard is another one who started in Cub Scouts at an early age.

“It was an ambition early on work up to an Eagle Scout,” he said. “I would say the communication and teamwork is the most fun about scouting. It is a lot of fun to go on the camping trips.”

Millard said by having four of the troop attain Eagle Scout status together was pretty special.

“It kind of got off some of the individuality of it with four of us going in, and it was nice to see all the families and people there for the ceremony” he said.

Millard’s Eagle Scout project was to build benches for the Bear Lake Museum.

“They are still deciding what color paint they wanted on them, but they should be out there soon,” he said. “I figured there wasn’t too many areas outside the courtyard for people to just sit and relax it would be a good idea to build benches.”

Millard plans to attend West Shore Community College in the fall and then transfer to Ferris State University for computer science.

“Scouting has really got my drive going and I am definitely more focused in what I am doing and striving for the best,” he said. “It was a really hard and tedious process to go through to become an Eagle Scout, but now that I am done with it I am really proud to have the badge and be an Eagle Scout.

Like his fellow Eagle Scouts, Jarrod Berard started at an early age in scouting.

“I started in first grade in Cub Scouts and then moved to Boy Scouts around sixth grade and been with it ever since,” said Berard.

His years in scouting have taught him a great deal.

“It teaches you a lot of great lessons about leadership and you get a lot of community service opportunities,” said Berard.

The chance to go in with three others also hit home with Berard.

“It was kind of neat to all go in together,” he said. “I started out in Troop 63, but people weren’t coming in anymore and eventually so many left that we couldn’t keep the troop going anymore. The only way for me to continue and complete my Eagle Scout was with Troop 106.”

The importance of becoming an Eagle Scout hasn’t been lost on Berard.

“It feels great to become an Eagle Scout as it’s the highest honor,” said Berard. “Ever since I was a Cub Scout I knew that was the ultimate goal. So it is kind of a culmination of a lot of work and a sense of achievement.”

His project was to build planters for the Bear Lake Historical Society.

“Our scout leader informed me about the need for planters so I just jumped on the need when I found about it,” he said. “I am going to Michigan State University next fall, and I definitely feel this experience is going to help me as it really teaches you a lot of lessons about leadership, communications, organization, as you have to bring all of those skills into your project to make it work.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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