Eric Holmes and Jack DeBree, students at Lackawanna Trail, earn Eagle Scout badges

By Ben Freda - For Abington Journal | April 12th, 2016 5:28 pm

FACTORYVILLE — Eric Holmes and Jack DeBree are both residents of Fleetville. They are both Lackawanna Trail students. They are also both Boy Scouts of Troop 175 of Factoryville.

Soon, they will have another thing in common — they will both receive their Eagle Scout badges for recent projects to benefit the community.

Holmes gives back to park

In conjunction with Countryside Conservancy, Holmes, who has been a Cub Scout for five years, rallied his fellow Scouts to help him complete his project at Little Rocky Glen in Factoryville. In October, he and the troops refurbished the park’s pavilion and picnic tables by staining them to prevent water damage. Nicholson Lumber donated the materials.

“On behalf of the conservancy board and staff, we were most impressed and grateful for the wonderful job the Scouts did,” said Cheryl Ellsworth, Trail coordinator of Countryside Conservancy.

During his childhood, Holmes and his friends from Troop 175 went camping, fishing, and played Frisbee at Little Rocky Glen, which is why he decided to complete his Eagle Scout project there.

“I wanted to give back to the people who provided the area (for activities),” he said.

Holmes, a senior at Lackawanna Trail, plays tenor saxophone for the school’s jazz ensemble and concert and marching bands.

“He’s an excellent student and a tremendous leader for our students to model themselves after,” said Mark Murphy, principal of Lackawanna Trail Junior-Senior High School.

Holmes plans to continue participating in Scouts and help his brother Colin Holmes, a current Boy Scout, to also become an Eagle Scout some day.

“I’m very proud of being an Eagle Scout,” he said. “It shows my dedication and hard work throughout my Scouting career.”

DeBree racks up service

DeBree completed his Eagle Scout project at Lackawanna State Park where he built two canoe racks in August. The canoe racks will provide additional storage to support the increased traffic of boaters for the spring and summer.

With private donations from Nicholson Lumber, Brojack Lumber, and a monetary donation from Penn East Federal Union, he not only built the racks but also two picnic tables and several new benches for people to enjoy the view of the lake. He was glad to complete the park, where he spent a lot of time with both his family and fellow troop members.

“I’m proud of it,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of hard work.”

DeBree thanks his troop leaders Robert Clarke, George Barbolish, Ed Marionni, and Nate Master for guiding him into becoming an Eagle Scout.

DeBree is also a senior at Lackawanna Trail.

“He (DeBree) is a talented student who is inquisitive and pragmatic,” said Murphy. “He’s a kind young man who is always willing to help out with his classmates.”

DeBree always wanted to join the fraternity of Eagle Scouts and has great respect for them. He plans to continue Scouting as much as he can.

Growing in the program

Master, who has been Holmes’ and DeBree’s Scoutmaster for the majority of the Eagle Scout process, said both young men have grown through the program.

“I have watched them progress through the ranks of Scouting to become great leaders and everything one would expect from an Eagle,” said Master. “They have gone from the young junior rank Scouts when I first met them to exceptional leaders of their troop and community.”

Master said that he had the honor of sitting with them during their Eagle Boards of Review.

Holmes and DeBree both had to juggle school and doing their requirements for their Eagle Scout projects such as attending Boy Scout meetings and getting letters of recommendation.

“Both are great kids,” said Robert Clarke, one of their Scoutmasters. It’s a great accomplishment to find time for their Eagle Scout project. They stuck with it overcoming distractions, like looking for a college. I’m very proud of both of them.”

Ed Marionni, who served as the chairman of the Boy Scout committee but now is still a committee member, gave Holmes and DeBree each a 1940s sterling silver ring for their Eagle Scout project. He finds the rings on the Internet and purchases them to reward the Scouts for their success.

“It’s nice to see them develop, grow, get involved, and become leaders,” said Marionni. “They show their skills that they learn from Scouting and from life. It’s great to see them mature.”

This spring, Holmes and DeBree will receive their Eagle Scout badges at the Lackawanna State Park. Their badges will consist of three pins: one dedicated to the father; one dedicated to the mother; one dedicated to the mentor. Holmes and DeBree will choose the mentor they will dedicate their third pin at the ceremony.

“They (Holmes and DeBree) have helped make the experience of being an adult leader within the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) fun,” said Master. “They have blazed the path for our young Scouts/leaders within the troop by carrying on that which they have learned from those that took the path before them. They and I believe that a properly run Scouting unit is really a place to forge exceptional leaders that our communities, nation, and world truly need. Eric and Jack’s dedication to achieving the rank of Eagle Scout should give us all hope that our futures are in good hands. Yes I am proud of them both.”


By Ben Freda

For Abington Journal

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