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Boys Scouts in North Belle Vernon troop flying high

| Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jonathan Baker of Belle Vernon paints part of the Sherman Tank Memorial In Monessen as part of his Eagle Scout project.
Geno Leone oversaw construction of a 10-by-24-foot, two-sided plywood kicking wall for soccer practice for his Eagle Scout project.
Helping Cameron Beichner (second from left) with his Eagle Scout project are (from left) David Lynn, Jacob Kubitza and Daniel Bednarczyk. Daniel and David are also Eagle Scouts, and Jacob is a Life Scout. SUBMITTED

Located out of St. Sebastian Church in North Belle Vernon, Troop 1543 has just 24 Scouts.

But the troop has had great success in turning out Eagle Scouts, the highest honor in Boy Scouts. In the past three years, seven Scouts from Troop 1543 have attained that rank.

In contrast, about 7 percent of all Scouts nationwide attain the rank of Eagle Scout, according to the Boy Scouts of America.

The troop was inactive for a few years before it was reconstituted in 2006, Scoutmaster Jeff Baker said.

Baker joined the troop as a leader five years ago.

“We had a good group of Scouts and an equally good group of leaders,” said Baker.

In 2011, Mario Leone and Dennis Lynn were awarded their Eagle Scout badges.

Leone's project involved construction of a storage closet at the Pricedale Union Church.

For his project, Lynn made landscape improvements to the entrance area of Fells Methodist Church in Rostraver Township.

Three more Scouts rose to Eagle Scout in 2012.

Christopher Brandl's project involved construction of a handicapped parking space plus landscaping at the Ave Maria Parish in Bentleyville.

David Lynn procured and installed a multi-media (audio/video) system at Fells Methodist Church in Rostraver Township.

Geno Leone constructed a soccer kick wall at the John DiVirgilio Sports Complex in Rostraver Township.

This year, Cameron Beichner assembled and delivery care packages to service men and women serving in Afghanistan.

And the latest member of the troop to attain Eagle Scout was Baker's son, Jonathan. The Belle Vernon Area High School senior is wrapping up his Eagle Scout and readying his paper work, Baker said of his son.

Jonathan Baker's project involved restoration of a World War II Sherman tank memorial in Monessen City Park.

Baker attributed the troop's success in graduating Eagle Scouts to a combination of factors.

“Our Scouts are very fine young men,” Baker said. “Their families are very supportive of their sons' efforts to succeed in the Scouting program. We have a very dedicated group of adults who serve as leaders and committee members and they are focused on the Scouts progress.

“Our troop has a very active program that provides many opportunities for growth and advancement.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or