Breck youth attains Eagle Scout status
BRECKENRIDGE – Bob Koch has had his eyes on earning Eagle Scout status since he was a 7-year-old Tiger Scout. Saturday, the Boy Scouts of America recognized him for his accomplishments and adorned him with the medal he spent 10 years working to obtain. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Boy Scouts.
“It was a lot of work,” Koch said. “It’s a huge step. I’ve tried to earn this for a long time. It’s a giant accomplishment for me.”
The 17-year-old Summit High School junior has passed through the ranks of Tiger, Cub, Bobcat, Wolf, Bear, Webelos and Boy Scouts, earning 21 merit badges and spending much of his time outdoors.
“I like the adventure,” he said. “We’re constantly doing things. We’re always outdoors. We’re never sitting around.”
Koch has numerous stories about hikes, raft trips and other adventures, but it was his final project – required to earn the Eagle Scout badge – that culminated the years of work.
He earned his merit badges in camping, citizenship in your community, citizenship in your nation, communications, lifesaving, environmental science, first aid, swimming, personal management, family life, canoeing, climbing, cooking, fishing, horsemanship, pioneering, rifle shooting, shotgun shooting and wilderness survival.
To earn his Eagle Scout badge, Koch spent a year planning and organizing the replacement of a shelter that houses a statue of the Virgin Mary outside St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Breckenridge. He designed the plans, purchased the materials and organized younger boys in his troop, who spent 113 man-hours building it. In doing so, he demonstrated his leadership abilities in a project that benefits the community.
“He’s a young man with integrity,” said Lynn O’Connor, a troop committee member. “He is a credit to his troop, his church, his family and this community. He shows the younger boys that you can be cool and still be respectful.”
Koch joins the ranks of numerous Eagle Scouts in the military, government and business sectors: Baseball great Hank Aaron, self-made millionaire H. Ross Perot, former President Gerald Ford, astronaut Neil Armstrong, musician John Tesh, Olympic medalist Bruce Jenner and William deVries, who was the first to transplant an artificial heart in a human, have all earned the honor.
It’s not an easy award to earn, either.
Of every 100 boys who join the Boy Scouts, only two will become Eagle Scouts. Seventeen will volunteer as Scout leaders later in their life, one will join the clergy, 18 will take up a hobby for life, eight will work in careers they pursued because of an interest sparked when earning merit badges, one will save his own life, and one will save another’s life, according to Boy Scouts of America.
Koch is one of those who saved another’s life.
“We were going to the Air Force Academy to see a football game,” he said. “And we were at a Wendy’s, and Tom (his father) grabbed someone’s Frosty and went down.”
Unable to hold his composure, Koch stopped talking.
“Tom grabbed the Frosty and started drinking it and he went down,” interjected committee member Robyn Cornwell. “He went into diabetic shock.”
“There’s a pin, like a shot, you have to give,” Koch continued, tears running down his face. “If I hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t be here right now.”
His father brought another round of tears and applause when he presented to Koch the Eagle Scout badge he’d earned as a youth.
Koch plans to graduate high school and attend an academy to become a doctor.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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