By Linda Collins Special Correspondent
April 11, 2014
ENON — Enon Mayor Tim Howard and Councilmen Jerry Crane and Elmer Beard share more than the notable distinction of serving the citizens of the Village of Enon.
As teens, the three village leaders completed the requirements necessary to reach the pinnacle of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA): the rank of Eagle Scout. Enon Police Officer Ben Barrett, a Xenia native, has earned the coveted rank of Eagle Scout as well.
Howard noted that the list of requirements to become an Eagle Scout, including earning 21 merit badges in various categories and completing a service project, requires a great deal of perseverance.
“Having a mayor, two council members and a police officer as Eagle Scouts is something for our small government to be proud of,” said Howard.
The mayor is now promoting Boy Scouting in Clark County and has volunteered to be the new chairman of the BSA Lagonda District, Tecumseh Council which serves more than 4,729 members throughout the county.
“I have not been associated with the Boy Scouts for over 40 years but feel the organization is important to the youth of our community,” Howard said.
His volunteer work does not end there. Howard, along with Crane, Beard, and Mad River Township Trustee Joe Catanzaro, is volunteering his time to serve as a merit-badge counselor in the area of his expertise, citizenship.
According to Howard, scouting instilled in him life-long leadership and problem-solving skills and the importance of service to the community.
“I still use those basic skills I learned 40 years ago to help me with issues I deal with as the village’s mayor,” Howard said. “We were required to do community service projects throughout our Scouting experience. Elmer and I helped plant the pine trees in Enon Park as part of a community service project in the early 1970s, and we must have done a pretty good job because most of the trees are still living.”
Howard joined Boy Scouts in 1971 at the age of 13 and was an active member of Enon Boy Scout Troop 17 for four years. He progressed through the ranks and after completing his community-minded project of installing a merry-go-round in Enon Park, was awarded the Eagle Scout badge in November 1973 at the age of 15.
“It was the first piece of playground equipment in the park, and it remained there until 2012,” said Howard. “It was very popular with the younger children but because of its old fashion design it was considered a potential liability to the village.”
Councilman Crane joined Cub Scouts when he was 9-years-old and transitioned into Boy Scouts at age 11. He was only 13 when he earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1957.
“I was living in Maud, Okla., at the time, and I think my troop number was 194,” Crane said. His service project consisted of cleaning up an empty lot, installing nets, and transforming the lot into a tennis court.
According to Crane, the principles of Scouting benefited him in many ways since he was first elected to a 4-year term on village council in 1983, held the office of mayor from 1988 to 2002, and was reelected to another 4-year term on village council in 2012.
“Boy Scouts taught me that those who select someone to be a leader are more important than the one who they selected to be the leader because a leader with no support is really not a leader at all,” said Crane.
Beard began his Scouting career as a Cub Scout at the young age of seven and transitioned into Boy Scouts when he was 11. The councilman was a member of Enon Troop 17 for seven years and also served as an assistant scoutmaster for approximately three years.
“Both Tim and I were in Troop 17, which is the oldest Boy Scout troop in the Enon area. There is a plaque in the basement of Enon Methodist Church, the sponsor of the troop, listing all the Eagle Scouts from Troop 17,” Beard said.
After completing his service project that consisted of making improvements to the Enon Emergency Squad building at one of its earlier locations, Beard, who was then 17, earned the rank of Eagle Scout in July 1972.
Beard said Scouting provided him an opportunity to learn a lot of outdoor skills from camping, fixing meals, navigating with a compass, and confidence in his abilities. While pursuing his merit badges, Beard said he learned a lot of life skills too, including community service, leadership, swimming, lifesaving, and first aid.
Officer Barrett, who joined Cub Scouts when he was 8-years-old, became a Boy Scout at the age of 12 and was an active member of Tecumseh Council, Xenia Troop 870, for six years. Barrett received his Eagle Scout Badge in 2001 at the age of 16.
For his Eagle Scout service project, Barrett designed and constructed an information center which held a variety of information pamphlets for the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. The police officer noted that the most difficult part of the project was building the pamphlet center to the specifications of the pamphlets that it would house. However, Barrett noted that he enjoyed spending time with his father during the construction process.
Throughout his 10 years in Scouting, Barrett said he developed a sense of self-worth and reliability and the desire to abide by the Boy Scout Oath.
“Knowing that I could take care of myself and family with the skills I learned as an Eagle Scout gives me a feeling of confidence and preparedness,” Barrett said. “Although I am not perfect by any means and constantly make mistakes, this oath has been an integral part of my life.”
On Feb. 12, Barrett was notified that he was the recipient of the Southwestern, Ohio Affiliate of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) “Top Cop” Award.