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Eagle Scouts, volunteers receive recognition

May 4, 2017
The Town Crier

The Whispering Pines District of the Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America recently hosted its 2017 District Recognition and Awards Dinner at St. James Episcopal Church in Boardman.

This year's dinner honored 30 Eagle Scouts who in 2016, earned the highest rank in scouting, the Eagle Scout Award. Several adult volunteers completed training awards as well as the 2016 Scouting Family of the Year, Cubmaster of the Year, Scoutmaster of the Year and the highest award a district can present to an adult Scouter, the District Award of Merit were named.

Scouts of the Whispering Pines District, which serves Mahoning County and Hubbard, who earned their Eagle Scout Award in 2016 are, according to troop number: Austintown Troop 184 - Matthew Luknis, Leo Puhalla and Kyle D. Scott; Boardman Troop 60 - Eric Henderson; Canfield Troop 25 - Patrick Byrne, Hunter Hykes and Matthew Mosier; Canfield Troop 115 - Seth Welch; Ellsworth Troop 71 - Gregary Brunner; Hubbard Troop 100 - Jonathan Feigert; New Middletown Troop 49 - Eric Grantonic and Zachary Peter Roman; New Springfield Troop 119 - Jack Angelo, Austin Robert Gebhardt, Sebastian Orbin, James Reardon, Russell Seymour, Adam VanTassel and Ray Eugene VanTassel; North Jackson Troop 105 - Joshua Westhead; North Lima Troop 80 _- Daymen Bair; Poland Troop 2 - Patrick Brennan, Robert Kurta and Shane Starling; Poland Troop 44 - Jacob Hockensmith; Youngstown Troop 22 - Tyler Bartell and Brandon Colangelo; and Youngstown Troop 55 - Austin Cook, Jarred Johns and Kyle S. Levine.

Article Photos

Photo Special to the Town Crier
Of the 30 Eagle Scout Awards earned in 2016 in the Whispering Pines District, eight Eagle Scouts were able to attend the 2017 Whispering Pines recognition dinner. Pictured are Robert Kurta of Poland Troop 2; Patrick Brennan of Poland Troop 2; Joshua Westhead of North Jackson Troop 105; Jacob Hockensmith of Poland Troop 44; Austin Cook of Youngstown Troop 55; Jared Johns of Youngstown Troop 55; Kyle Levine of Youngstown Troop 55; and Matthew Luknis of Austintown Troop 184.

The William T. Hornaday Gold Badge Award was presented to Mike Kupec of Canfield Boy Scout Troop 25. The Hornaday Award program was created to recognize those who have made significant contributions to conservation.

Several adults having earned training awards in 2016 included Hector Gonzalez of Youngstown Boy Scout Troop 54 and Craig Williams of Canfield Boy Scout Troop 115, completing the Basic Unit Commissioner Training, and Kenny Day and Nick Johnson (not present) both of Struthers Cub Scout Pack 101, completing Cub Scout Leader Training.

Wood Badge is a Scouting leadership program and the related award for adult leaders in the programs of scout associations throughout the world. Wood Badge courses aim to make Scouters better leaders by teaching advanced leadership skills and by creating a bond and commitment to the Scout movement.

Courses generally have a combined classroom and practical outdoors-based phase followed by a Wood Badge ticket, also known as the project phase. By "working the ticket," participants put their newly gained experience into practice to attain ticket goals aiding the Scouting movement.

Recipients of their 2016 Wood Badge Beads were Nick Johnson (not present) of Cub Scout Pack101 in Struthers; Steph Kelly of Cub Scout and Boy Scout Troop 115 of Canfield; and Melissa Miller of Cub Scout Pack115 in Canfield.

The 2016 Scouting Family of the Year Award was presented to the Deemer-Hockensmith Family of Poland Boy Scout Troop 44.

The 2016 Cubmaster of the Year was Patrick Kelly of Canfield Cub Scout Pack 25, who now serves as the Scoutmaster of Canfield Troop 115. The 2016 Scoutmaster of the Year was Eric Grabman of Boardman Boy Scout Troop 46.

"Scouting's Journey to Excellence" is the BSA's council performance recognition program designed to encourage and reward success and measure the performance of our units, districts and councils. It is meant to encourage excellence in providing a quality program at all levels of the BSA.

Units earning the Gold Level status in 2016 were Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 2 of Poland; Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 22 of Youngstown; Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 25 of Canfield; Cub Scout Pack 27 of Boardman; Cub Scout Pack 44 of Poland; Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 54 of Youngstown; Boy Scout Troop 55 of Youngstown; Boy Scout Troop 60 of Boardman; Boy Scout Troop 71 of Ellsworth; Boy Scout Troop 80 of North Lima; Cub Scout Pack 101 of Struthers; Cub Scout Pack and Boy Scout Troop 105 of North Jackson; Cub Scout Pack 114 of Boardman; Boy Scout Troop 115 of Canfield, Boy Scout Troop 119 of New Springfield and Cub Scout Pack 184 of Austintown.

Units earning the Silver Level status in 2016 were Cub Scout Pack 32 of Ellsworth; Boy Scout Troop 44 of Poland; Boy Scout Troop 46 of Boardman; and Cub Scout Pack 115 of Canfield. The unit earning the Bronze Level status in 2016 was Troop 184 of Austintown.

The district's top three 2016 popcorn sellers were Nathan McLane of Boardman Boy Scout Troop 60, selling $5,058 worth of popcorn; Johnny Turner of Poland Cub Scout Pack 2, with $3,574 worth of popcorn sold; and Vincent Larson of Austintown Cub Scout Pack 184, selling $2,585 worth.

The James E. West Fellowship Award was presented to Doug Kupec of Boy Scout Troop 25 in Canfield in recognition of his devotion to Scouting and his service to the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's National Honor Society.

The District Award of Merit, the highest honor a district can present to a Scouter, was presented to two individuals. The Whispering Pines District was pleased to award the District Award of Merit to Steph Kelly of Canfield Cub Scout Pack 115 and Boy Scout Troop 115 and Marion Sweely of Austintown Cub Scout Pack 184. Kelly also serves as the Pack Committee Chairman for Cub Scout Pack 115, and Sweely also serves the district as Friends of Scouting Chairperson.

This year's dinner was chaired by Dinner Chairman Kurt Hilderbrand and assisted by the District Advancement Chairman Byron Harnishfeger, District Commissioner Beth Harnishfeger and District Training Chairman Bill Moss.

For more information about all Scouting programs, visit or the Great Trail Boy Scout Council website at For all of the programs of the Boy Scouts of America in Mahoning County and Hubbard, contact Whispering Pines Senior District Executive John Brkic at 330-773-0415, Ext. 230, or email



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