Mark Shepard is on a mission to find information about the 36 members of Boys Scout Troop 28 to receive Eagle Scout status.
He said he started the research project for the 75th anniversary of Boy Scout Troop 28 in Clintonville, which is this year.
“For Scout Sunday I was trying to assemble as many of those Eagles as possible,” he said. “There’s been 36 of them (Eagle Scouts) in that 75 year history.”
Shepard got a good start on the project after receiving binders of information about local Boy Scout troops that Carl Keller has assembled.
“He would send things to the newspapers and he would keep copies of all that stuff,” Shepard said.
When asked why he took on such a research intensive project, Shepard said, “It’s just some history that’s going to be lost I feel if I don’t.”
He said scrapbooks from Christus Camp were helpful, but contained only one copy of the information.
“I wanted to try to scan that and make a digital copy of it so that if something happened it wouldn’t be lost forever,” he said.
The original research began around 2010.
In late 2009 Shepard’s son became an Eagle Scout.
“I tried to invite as many Eagle Scouts from town as I could find to come to his event,” Shepard said. “There were 13 or 15 of them who were at the ceremony.”
Shepard was a Boy Scout when he was younger, but he never attained Eagle Scout.
“I was one step below that. It’s something that I’ve always regretted. Now as a scout master, I can encourage scouts to not stop where I did,” he said.
Shepard said his search started with just a list of those who attained Eagle Scout and the year they received it.
“I went through the clippings and stuff from Carl. Then I went to the library and started looking, started at a date that I knew they earned it and then going forward,” Shepard said. “Usually it doesn’t make the paper until they have their Court of Honor, which is when they actually get the badge. But the official date is when they pass their Board of Review.”
Shepard said Eagle Scout recognition isn’t covered in the media like it used to be.
When Shepard found information about an Eagle Scout, he’d search high school yearbooks to find a “youthful” photo of the Eagle Scout.
“I’d love to compare what they look like now to what they looked like then. Have a side-by-side picture and their information, but I’m a ways away from that yet,” he said.
Through his research, Shepard has found and made contact with the individual or their family for 26 of the 36 Eagle Scouts.
Information has come from family members and people who were involved in scouting back then, as well as from members of Christus Church.
Facebook has also been helpful in finding the Eagle Scouts, he said.
When he made contact with an Eagle Scout, he asked them to send him a congratulatory letter addressed to Troop 28 to help celebrate the troop’s anniversary. He also asked them to relay stories about their time in Boy Scouts.
“I probably got 10 or 15 of those,” Shepard said. “So many of them mentioned the Christus Camp as being the highlight of things, the good times they spent in scouting were there.”
He passed the letters on to the troop.
Shepard said he doesn’t know how much time he has spent on the entire project. He said in January he spent at least an hour each day doing research. In February, leading up to Scout Sunday, he said he spent at least three hours each day doing research.
“I have been consumed by it in the time leading up to Scout Sunday,” he said.
Eagles Scouts that Shepard has not found contact information for include: Wim. Billy Wege (1943), George Stevens Jr. (1948), William Fritch (1955), Thomas Wright (1956), Richard Wright (1961), Eric Larson (1967), Todd Steckbar (1974), Andrew Lagatta (1993), Keith Biesack (1995), and Mark Sconzert (2005).