Without editing, here’s the press release from Boy Scouts of America:
Anthony Thomas to Represent 97 Years of Scouting Tradition and Honor, Serve as Youth Representative at BSA 100th Anniversary Events
MINNEAPOLIS – June 17, 2009 – To describe one Minnesota teenager as “one in a million” is an understatement – by half. The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) today announced that Anthony Thomas, 16, of Lakeville, Minn., has been named the 2 millionth Eagle Scout since the first Eagle badge was awarded in 1912.
Eagle Scout is the highest attainable rank in Boy Scouting and requires years of dedication and hard work. Scouts must demonstrate proficiency in leadership, service, and outdoor skills at multiple levels before achieving the Eagle rank. Fewer than 5 percent of Boy Scouts earn the Eagle badge.
Anthony, who will be a junior at Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, Minn., has been involved in Scouting since age 7. A member of the Northern Star Council’s Troop 471 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, Minn., he credits Scouting for his love of the outdoors and commitment to service. Adopted from Korea, Anthony volunteers as a counselor to Korean adoptees at Camp Choson. He also is active in his church and recently lettered in Service at his school. Anthony will spend part of his summer in New Orleans to help with ongoing cleanup work from Hurricane Katrina.
“Anthony represents everything that the Eagle badge stands for: character, integrity, leadership, and service to others,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. “It is fitting that we honor the 2 millionth Eagle as we prepare to celebrate 100 years of service to the nation.”
As the 2 millionth Eagle Scout, Anthony will serve as a youth ambassador for Scouting by participating in upcoming BSA’s 100th Anniversary events such as the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.; the BSA’s annual Report to the Nation in Washington, D.C.; and the National Scout Jamboree in 2010.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected as the 2 millionth Eagle Scout,” Anthony said. “The Eagle rank represents excellence and leadership at every stage of life, and I will do my best to honor those Eagles who have come before me and to encourage other Scouts to pursue the Eagle Award.”
In addition to the 21 merit badges required to earn Eagle rank, each Scout must complete an extensive service project that he plans, organizes, leads, and manages before his 18th birthday. For his project, Anthony designed and constructed devices to help train service dogs for Helping Paws of Minnesota, which provides dogs for disabled persons to further their independence. A key component of his project was to raise awareness for the organization and its mission. He accomplished this by arranging a service dog demonstration for his troop and coordinating a kick-off drive to encourage his fellow Scouts to earn their Disabilities Awareness merit badge.
Anthony’s parents, Jim and Cheryl Thomas, are active Scouting volunteers. Anthony also has a younger sister, Allison. In addition to Scouting, Anthony enjoys snowboarding, track, soccer, and playing the guitar.
“The fellowship of Eagles celebrates the milestone of the 2 millionth Eagle Scout,” said Glenn Adams, president of the National Eagle Scout Association. “Each Eagle represents a life of service to others and to the communities where Eagles live and work. We congratulate Anthony Thomas and look forward to working with him to help encourage other Scouts to pursue their Eagle.”
About the Boy Scouts of America
Serving nearly 4.1 million young people between the ages of 7 and 20 with more than 300 local councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.
Facts about Eagle Scouts
- The first Eagle badge was awarded in 1912.
- Fewer than 5 percent of all Boy Scouts earn the Eagle rank.
- The 1 millionth Eagle Scout milestone was reached in 1982.
- In 2008, a record-high 52,025 Scouts earned the Eagle badge.
In 2008, Eagle Scout service projects provided $16 million in service to communities across the nation (based on national volunteer hour value of $19.51).