Four scouts from the Van Meter Troop 120 have recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout.
Each year troop 120, which is currently made up of 26 scouts, helps to support the local community by participating in projects such as highway clean up, volunteering at the American Legion Post 403, and placing flags in honor of Memorial Day, to name a few.
In order to earn their new rank, each scout first had to earn at minimum 21 merit badges. The scouts were also required to plan, organize, lead, and manage a service project that would help benefit any religious institution, school, or the local community.
In addition, an Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony was initially planned to honor these scouts and their completed projects at the end of March. However, the ceremony has been temporarily postponed due to the impact of this year’s coronavirus.
As a 2020 graduate from Van Meter High School, Patrick Junker has been involved in numerous extracurricular activities, stating that Boy Scouts and football are his favorites.
“I started and ended my Eagle Scout quest at Van Meter,” Junker said. “As a Scout, I have learned to love the outdoors and have made countless memories that I will never forget.”
Junker knew from the beginning that he wanted to dedicate his service and Eagle Scout Project to the veterans throughout his local community. He decided the best way to accomplish this was to not only repair the fire pit at the American Legion Post 403 but also help build a firewood shelter.
“I wanted to give back to the veterans in my community because they have given so much to me. The American Legion Post 403 and its members have provided many opportunities to me that have completely changed my life,” Junker said.
In order to complete his service project, Junker worked with legion members to determine both the repairs needed and the ideal location for the shelter. He also constructed the shelter, transported it to the predetermined location, laid down concrete tiles for a base, and placed the shelter on top.
With the help of 8 total volunteers, the entire project took around 51 volunteer hours and was completed back in 2019.
“My hopes are that the Van Meter Legion can utilize the repaired fire pit and firewood shelter in their efforts to give back to our community and veterans,” Junker said. “The American Legion Post 403 and the opportunities that they have given me have singlehandedly changed my life and allowed me to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a West Point Cadet. I dedicated my Eagle Scout Project to Post 403 to express my gratitude and give back to them.”
Junker also said that being a part of Troop 120 has provided him with invaluable experiences and given him opportunities to lead, grow, and mature into the person that he is today.
“I am eternally grateful for Troop 120 and the invaluable experiences and lessons they have taught me,” Junker said. “Receiving the Eagle Scout rank is an extremely high honor. It’s something that I have worked towards for a very long time. I’m proud to be an Eagle Scout.”
Before becoming an Eagle Scout, Tyler Coffie began as a Wolf Scout, stating that at the time he just thought it would be fun. Now, Coffie has recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout after completing numerous badges and helping repair the fence located at the Methodist Church in Van Meter.
“The best part is definitely the camping over the weekends or on short trips,” Coffie said. “Life Saving is rememberable because I tried to do it in 7th grade but couldn’t complete the requirements. So, I tried it again in 9th to 10th grade and completed it, which was a small accomplishment to me.”
As part of his service project, Coffie first had to dig up the old posts in order to replace them with new ones. He then lined up the cross boards, pulled the wire fencing up, and added both primer and paint. This project was fully completed in the summer of 2019.
“Nothing, in particular, drove me towards it. I just knew I wanted to do something for the town and this was the project that seemed to fit best for an Eagle Scout Project,” Coffie said. “I worked a long time and put a lot of effort into Scouts. So, I guess relief that I managed to get here but also some pride that I managed to stick it through to the end and complete my Eagle.”
For Chris Coffie, one of the best parts about being a boy scout is the week long summer camps held each year.
Coffie originally started out as a Wolf Scout after some of his friends joined local troops. He has since earned numerous badges and built 5 bat boxes around the City of Van Meter.
“The most memorable merit badges for me would have to be life-saving and camping, both taking days of work to complete,” Coffie said.
As part of his service project, Coffie not only built the bat boxes but also attached them to wooden poles. He, then, dug holes for the bat boxes and filled these holes with concrete, with the project completed during the fall of 2019.
“What drove me to build bat boxes was the importance of bats in the ecosystem and the need for insect mitigation near the trails,” Coffie said. “To me, the rank Eagle symbolizes the knowledge I have learned to help me and others whenever needed.”
After watching both his father and older brother become involved in scouts, Reece Chappell thought it would be fun to join as well.
Chappell originally started his first year as a Tiger Scout when he was in the first grade. He has since completed numerous merit badges, stating that the fishing badge was one of his favorites.
“We learned basic things in the beginning but then we were allowed to fish for the rest of the week,” Chappell said. “The best part [about being in scouts] is camping and the unique opportunities available to us, like going sailing in the US Virgin Islands.”
As part of his service project, Chappell built an informational kiosk next to a boat ramp located in the Van Meter recreational complex. This kiosk can be used to not only display basic safety information but also other information about the local area.
“The city reached out to the troop about this project and I decided that it would be a good project for me,” Chappell said. “Receiving the rank of Eagle shows all the time and hard work I’ve put into scouting.”
To complete the project, Chappell first had to find a design that the city of Van Meter would approve. He then, developed a material list before starting construction on the kiosk at his home. He later moved the kiosk to its final location, with the project fully completed in the fall of 2019.