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Eagle Scout Takes Flight


Teen’s achievement marks lifetime goal

(Photo Left) Local scout D'avon Byrd celebrates receiving his Eagle Scout status and full tuition scholarship with his aunt Denise Byrd (L), grandmother Rosemary Byrd (R). Photo courtesy of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.

D’avon Byrd is studying architecture at Morgan State University, but he has already achieved lifelong dreams.

As part of a Boy Scout service project, he hosted a memorial ceremony and built a prayer bench that now sits at his late mother’s gravesite at Chelten Hill Cemetery. The completion of the service project marked his advancement to the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America.

Only about 5 percent of all Scouts nationwide achieve this status, according to the Scouts.  The percentage is even lower for African-American members.

“It feels like I finally have something, dedicated to my deceased mother, that helped me to become the man she wanted me to be,” says Byrd.

The Eagle Court of Honor Ceremony took place Tues, Dec. 18, at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, where members of the church, Boy Scouts of America and its  Cradle of Liberty Council celebrated D’avon’s achievement. His grandmother and aunt participated in the badge-pinning portion of the ceremony.

Enon noted that Byrd was the first scout in the life of the church to advance to Eagle. The church’s Pastor Alyn Waller had committed to offering a full ride scholarship to the first Scout to reach the milestone.

Byrd has been a Scout since 2007, and says scouting taught him “leadership skills, growing up to be a responsible man and a [to be a] good role model for all of those who came before me.”

But he doesn’t credit himself entirely for his success. “I have had a lot of people around me who wanted to support me and who volunteered to help me, and tried to lend a hand. People said, my kid looks up to you for truth and in the church,” says Byrd.

No small undertaking, the Eagle Scout means accumulating 21 badges, including ones for first aid; citizenship in the community, nation and world; communication; cooking; personal fitness; emergency preparedness or life-saving; environmental science or sustainability; personal management; swimming or hiking or cycling; camping; and family life.

The project required Byrd to do something in service to the community and that demonstrated a Scout’s leadership ability and therefore must be executed with a number of people.

Byrd says a lot of preparation went into making the bench and assembling the dedication. “I had to meet with different people: contractors, builders, cemetery owners, staff,” he says.

Byrd’s mother passed away when he was just a baby, so he doesn’t have any memories of her.

Still, he says “Everything I’ve done so far was in memory of her. I know that she loved me very much and that she wanted me to be a fine young man.”

 

Eagle Scout Takes Flight
Sheila Simmons - Contributor

Sheila Simmons brings many years of writing and communications experience to her work for Liberty City Press. She began her professional writing career at the Philadelphia Daily News, where she covered Business, City Hall and Education.

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