It is a privilege to be here to honor and celebrate Nathan and Max today.
And, by extension, to affirm the superb parenting, steady guidance and abundant love both of these boys receive at home.
This evening marks the fifth Court of Honor I have attended since last May. A number that doesn’t include all of the Courts of Honor attended by my fellow Optimists – Mr. Frank, Mr. Oehler or Mr. Olsen over that same time frame.
Nor does it take into account the three young men I know that are on the cusp of starting their own projects later this summer. Or the many young lads out there dreaming of their own big day yet to come.
This brief account of my experiences and interactions with Eagle Scouts is merely intended to give you a sense of the commitment, the level of the leadership and the depth of the character of the Cub and Boy Scout troops that flourish here in our community.
Perhaps in another zip code, this might be considered a rare feat. But around these parts, setting your sights as a Cub Scout to become an Eagle is the benchmark. Our standard of excellence.
The Optimist Club shares a vibrant, collaborative and long-standing history with the Boy Scouts here in Mequon-Thiensville.
Whether their project aims to preserve a local historical site, support a life of learning, provide a means of enhancing the quality of life, or improve access to our treasured waterways, the Optimists will be there, without fail, providing the moral, technical, financial or manual support that every Eagle Scout candidate needs to make their project soar.
Because when you get down to it, if you can find a way to help bring out the best in kids, it cannot help but bring out the best in all of us.
To successfully complete their Eagle projects, Nathan and Max had to fully embrace the entrepreneurial spirit.
They had to be equal parts engineer, supply chain specialist, salesman, foreman, accountant, mentor, human resources, quality control and big picture visionary.
And knowing just a little about the scope of these projects, they were no small undertaking. I have to believe that both Nathan and Max now have a keen appreciation of the value of this particular skill set.
Nathan’s project addressed a need that is sure to become a prized amenity for our community.
He improved accessibility to the Milwaukee River, at Scout Park, by installing a canoe launch. To accomplish this, he needed to dig out part of the land, build two 8’ x 4’ lannon stone steps and design twin retaining walls to maintain the structural integrity of the launch. He further enhanced access to the area by refurbishing the existing parking lot.
As I headed back home from the Memorial Day parade yesterday, I stopped by and it looks great. A wonderful addition to one of our best kept secrets; our community’s many parks. The ideal compliment to one of our cherished natural resources; our waterways.
Max’s project also fills a need that will undoubtedly become a valued asset to our community.
He designed, coordinated and led the building of a volley ball court at the Logemann Center. Already becoming a focal point for youth outreach activities in Mequon-Thiensville, adding volley ball to the mix of opportunities at the Logemann Center is a natural fit.
Max’s project provides us with a much-needed place where kids can go and just be kids. Where they can be on their own, socialize, get some exercise and have fun.
A welcome addition to another of our best kept secrets; the Logemann Center. The perfect complement for another cherished natural resource: our kids.
Each in their own way, Nathan and Max’s character in action have created a lasting and positive impact on our community.
Through their effort and vision, they have bridged generations, connected backgrounds and created new opportunities for all those that will follow.
Meaningful projects that have brought many together, united in a singular effort, to benefit the common good.
Raising us all up in the process.
Like I said, no small undertaking.
Now it might seem that you only hear about our local musicians, artists and state or national champion scholar-athletes. Or about those that have earned an opportunity to make it onto the big field or screen as a professional athlete or Oscar-winning writer.
But you want to know something?
Almost every month, like clockwork, we turn out gifted young men like Nathan and Max.
The ones we can always count on.
The ones that always honor an oath.
The ones that strive to do their duty and to be at their best at all times.
The ones that lead us here at home, out in the world, or even to the moon.
They may not get the press, attention or accolades they deserve.
But something tells me that really isn’t what they are all about.
They are content to be our best kept secret.
This community’s most treasured natural resource.