LAURINBURG — It had always been a goal of Jackson Purcell to follow in his family footsteps of obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout, but he wasn’t sure he’d ever get there.
The current Scotland High School junior began his journey to Eagle Scout when he joined the Cub Scouts in 2008 as a first-grader, then moved to Boy Scouts in 2012 when he was in the fifth grade. June 10 was Purcell’s big day at Laurinburg Presbyterian Church, when he was recognized for achieving the rank of Eagle — becoming the 164th Eagle Scout of Troop 420.
Eagle Scout is the highest achievement that a Boy Scout can earn, and only 4 percent of Boy Scouts are granted the honor. The rank requires multiple-steps in order to be selected.
“I always hoped that I would do it,” Purcell said. “Everyone in my family had it, so I think that might have made me want it a little bit more. It didn’t guarantee me to get it, but it definitely made me want it.”
One of the biggest parts of achieving the rank requires a service project that benefits an organization other than Boy Scouts. Purcell’s project helped one of his favorite places in Scotland County, the Lumber River State Park-Chalk Banks in Wagram.
For the project Purcell, along with scouts from Troop 420 and his uncle, Assistant Scoutmaster Bill Purcell, added a serving table, bench, and a hammock stand at the campsite.
The hammock stand can hold four hammocks and the entire project took two full days to complete with the help of everyone.
“It was definitely a relief to finish it,” Purcell said. “It’s the hardest thing to do when becoming an Eagle Scout, the rest is all just paperwork.”
When he was finally presented as an Eagle Scout, his two best friends and fellow scouts Ken Pruitte and Andrew Oswald gave his “Trail to Eagle” speech, which was a short chronicle of Purcell’s journey to Eagle Scout. For Purcell the entire experience was incredible.
“It was an experience — you don’t know the feeling until you’re standing there and hear people speaking about you,” Purcell said. “It was breathtaking.”
Depite the challenge of attaining Eagle Scot status, Purcell wants younger scouts to never give up and push through to become an Eagle.
“Even when it gets hard to do, push through it and do it,” Purcell said. “It’s all worth it in the end.”
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171 or at [email protected]