HARRISVILLE -- Seven brothers plus seven sons equals 14 Eagle Scouts.
Since she was a child, Janet Varble has been surrounded by go-getters. Not only did her seven brothers all earn their Eagle Scout, her seven sons have now accomplished the same feat.
Kevin, Elon, Kilo, Deely, Jershon, Tennik and Nevele Varble are now all Eagle Scouts, thanks to their parents, Scout leaders and their own hard work. Not only did the boys earn the 21 required merit badges to become an Eagle, they all went on to earn well over 100.
"When I was a kid, knowing that all of my uncles had become Eagle Scouts was an influence on me," said Kevin Varble Jr., the oldest son of Kevin and Janet Varble and also the first to become an Eagle Scout, when he was 13. "I wanted to get mine because I thought it was very honorable, and it was really a lot of fun in the process."
Since the boys were young, their parents challenged them to go one step further and earn as many merit badges as possible.
"In their minds, participating in scouting meant participating 100 percent and 100 percent meant completing all the merit badges, not 21 out of 100," Janet said.
Kevin and Janet home schooled their 11 children, who also include four girls, during their elementary school years. They included scouting as part of the curriculum and the living room became the center of many homemade projects.
"It's a great way to teach knowledge about a variety of subjects," Kevin Sr. said. "There were many times the whole family would participate in completing the merit badge activity, which often required traveling, camping, business and museum visits."
All of the boys were 13 or younger when they earned their Eagle. This concerned some of their Scout leaders who were worried the boys would drop out of the program at too young an age, Janet said, but they didn't realize the boys intended to earn as many merit badges as possible.
"Scouting has always been a big part of my life and will continue to be," Kevin Jr. said. "Today I'm a Scout master and I love encouraging the boys to work hard and earn as many merit badges as they can. I love the job."
Kevin said his favorite merit badge was the hiking badge, because it was challenging and rewarding.
Nevele, 13, is the last to earn his Eagle. He recently received the Eagle during a court of honor, with all six of his brothers on hand to cheer him on.
"My brothers were a big influence on me," he said. "I was really impacted by their hard work to get their Eagle and I wanted to get mine.
"I think my favorite merit badge was the music one. I play the violin. I also enjoyed the pet care merit badge because I got to take care of a dog."
Janet said she checked to see how common it is for so many brothers to earn their Eagle.
"It is not common at all. And even more uncommon, this may be the first time 750-plus merit badges have been earned in one family," she said.
"In today's world of no time, crazy economy ... and with such a focus on the upcoming presidential election, we feel it helps develop tomorrow's leaders, local and national, business owners, good honest workers and that good neighbor next door."