Cindy Wilson, Blake’s mom, pins on the Eagle Scout medal near the conclusion of ceremonies installing him as an Eagle Scout. The high honor is the ultimate achievement within the Boy Scouting program, joining young Wilson to the small fraternity who have achieved it.
Blake Wilson has achieved Eagle Scout's rank after years of disciplined hard work and dedicated achievement. A ceremony to mark Wilson's accomplishment, a Boy Scout's ultimate promotion, took place at Jasper's Appalachian campus of Chattahoochee Technical College Saturday afternoon, June 16.
Eagle Scout Wilson is a member of Hill City Boy Scout Troop 288, a troop co-founded by Hill City Elementary School Principal Carlton Wilson and Scoutmaster Charles Bufford nine years ago. Carlton Wilson is Blake's father.
Before Blake received a number of certificates recognizing his advancement to Eagle Scout along with the impressive Eagle Scout medal, several speakers from different areas of Blake's life spoke a word about this accomplished young man.
Blake Wilson is just 14 years old. He is on schedule to graduate Pickens High next year, to turn 16 the following July, and to proceed to Georgia Tech the following autumn.
Ron Strickland, Junior Vice Commander to American Legion Jasper Post 149, presented Blake with the Legion's good citizenship citation for service done on the way to achieving Eagle. In presenting Wilson with a certificate from the local Marine Corps League, Marine Arlen Rens dubbed Blake an over-achiever, the kind of person who forever will strive to perform beyond average.
"He has the most merit badges of any Scout in my troop," said Scoutmaster Bufford. Blake Wilson has achieved 67 merit badges, Bufford said. Only 21 are required on the road to Eagle
"He's a great kid," said Dustin Eaton, Wilson's Sunday school teacher. Eaton said he had no idea what goes into achieving Eagle Scout until he recently checked into it. "Man, it's a big deal," Eaton affirmed. "It doesn't surprise me that he has achieved it."
School teacher Wendy Jackson saw Wilson come up through elementary school. "In 34 years of teaching gifted kids, I want to say that Blake was one of the biggest challenges, because of his intellectual abilities," Jackson said.
"His strengths are mathematical. Mine are not," she added. Jackson said she made it her goal to steer Blake toward a dose of the humanities. Today Wilson is a mathematician who also has an interest in dramatic presentation.
"You're a great kid, Blake, and you've got great stuff. Now go ahead and do it," Jackson said.
Speaking of his son, Carlton Wilson said, "There is a side to Blake a lot of people don't get to see. He's one of the most compassionate young men I've ever known. The littlest things. People that are having problems, that are hurting, it hurts him. I love him. I'm very proud of him," Blake's father stated.
In presenting the charge to Eagle Scout Blake Wilson, Eagle Scout Ben Arp (awarded Eagle in 1961) invoked one of the closing lines from the movie Saving Private Ryan. Near the end of the film, an Army captain, played by Tom Hanks, lies dying near a bridge, the culmination of a pilgrimage by his squad to pull Ryan from the battle and save his life. With his dying breath, the captain tells Ryan, "Earn this. Earn it."
Blake Wilson received the same charge. There is a responsibility to wearing the high honor of Eagle Scout, Arp explained.
Before Wilson received the Eagle Scout medal and his mother pinned it on his chest, Scoutmaster Bufford spoke of the medal's history and meaning. Unchanged for a century, the medal dates from 1912, he said.
"An Eagle's ultimate responsibility is to live with honor," Bufford stated. A second obligation is loyalty to family, troop, community and nation. The third obligation is courage, he said.
"Courage to face physical danger and also to stand up for what's right," Bufford explained.
An Eagle's final responsibility is service, he said, and that includes helping other Scouts climb toward Eagle.
In closing remarks, Chris Stancil echoed this call to duty. To now, Wilson's climb toward Eagle has been an arduous process and inspiring goal. With accomplishment of that long-sought prize arrives the duty to wear it well, to live up to it. "Now the journey becomes the destination, living it out from here," Stancil said.
He never made it to Eagle Scout and has forgotten most of the knot tying he learned as a Boy Scout, Stancil said. But some teachings from that time still remain with him, he said.
"What stuck was the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. You don't forget that," Stancil said.
The Scout Oath: On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.
"The next few years is when it really gets tough," Stancil advised Wilson. "The pull of the world, the pull of everyone else around you. You'll face the same temptations."
The foundation established through Scouting and the strong home where he has grown up should guide Blake Wilson safely through those trials, Stancil assured.