Of my accomplishments throughout my young life so far, I am not prouder of any of them than I am my Eagle Scout distinction. Being a part of the National Eagle Scout Association has instilled in me the promise of “Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle,” and I take that charge to heart, trying to live it out through my actions every day.
I am most proud of this honor because it symbolizes so much that I have learned in my life. Being an Eagle Scout means more than just knowing first-aid, how to tie certain lashings or how to camp out under the starry sky while also surviving at the same time.
While those skills are certainly important, it is the values of honesty, leadership and service that have been ingrained within me that I really cherish. The Scout Oath and Law provide marvelous moral codes to abide by, and while the eleventh and twelfth points being “clean and reverent” are a little less defined for myself as I am agnostic and heed famous Eagle Scout Mike Rowe’s call to be a scout “not afraid to get dirty!” I still follow Scouting’s guidelines in my normal life day-to-day now.
For those of you who may still not be convinced about the importance of the Boy Scouts of America and all its subprograms like Venturing and Cub Scouts, I decided to make a short list of some of the most famous Eagle Scouts out there. Some may surprise you while others really do just make a lot of sense considering the qualities of a good Eagle Scout I have already outlined in this article. Without further ado, here is the list!
- Neil Armstrong - I find it quite fitting that the first man on the moon was also an Eagle Scout. Armstrong led the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon in 1969. Of the 312 NASA astronauts, 39 are Eagle Scouts.
- Gerald Ford - The first and so far only Eagle Scout to be President of the United States of America, Ford led the country as the 38th president. He served from 1974 to 1977.
- Robert Gates - This man was a director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011. I had the privilege to see him address thousands of scouts at the National Order of the Arrow Conference at Michigan State University in August 2015.
- Mike Rowe - This Distinguished Eagle Scout is most famously known for being the host of “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe” on the Discovery Channel. I was also lucky enough to see him speak at both the 2010 and 2013 National Scout Jamborees.
- Steven Spielberg - Filmmaker responsible for famous cultural phenomena of cinema like “E.T.,” “Jaws” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Spielberg started filmmaking early on as he filmed his scout troop for his photography merit badge.
- Sam Walton - The founder of “Wal-Mart” was indeed an Eagle Scout. This now deceased businessman is also the founder of “Sam’s Club”
- Willie Banks - This Olympic athlete used to be the world-record holder in the long jump and triple jump. At the age of 56 in 2012, he became the oldest American to clear a six-foot high jump.
- Jon Heder - Yes, Napoleon Dynamite himself is an Eagle Scout and an enthusiast at that! While he is famous for many absurdly comedic roles, he is now a scoutmaster and family man with three kids.
- Wallace Stegner - Novelist and environmentalist, Stegner won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “Angel of Repose” about a man who loses touch with his family and writes about the adventures of his grandparents.
- Michael Bloomberg - The former mayor of New York City and owner of Bloomberg L.P. is our final notable Eagle Scout on this list, but there are plenty more. Search for yourself, and you might find that one of your favorite heroes or celebrities is also an Eagle Scout.