Soaring Eagles: Three Top of Utah special-needs Scouts earn high honors

Apr 13 2011 - 7:36pm

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An American eagle from Ogden Nature Center was a guest of honor at the special Court of Honor held recently to elevate three special-needs Boy Scouts to Eagle Scout status. The eagle, which was found wounded, was adopted by the nature center. With the bird is Eagle Scout Jeff Ure.
Supplied photos
New Eagle Scouts (from left) Chris Ure, Gregory Wimpee and Jeff Ure accept the applause of the audience for their accomplishments.
Supplied photos
An American eagle from Ogden Nature Center was a guest of honor at the special Court of Honor held recently to elevate three special-needs Boy Scouts to Eagle Scout status. The eagle, which was found wounded, was adopted by the nature center. With the bird is Eagle Scout Jeff Ure.
Supplied photos
New Eagle Scouts (from left) Chris Ure, Gregory Wimpee and Jeff Ure accept the applause of the audience for their accomplishments.

ROY -- After years of hard work and dedication, three Weber West Area Special Needs residents received their Eagle Scout award.

Chris Ure, Jeff Ure and Gregory Wimpee received their awards during a dinner and Eagle Court of Honor on March 31. A special flag-folding ceremony and a visit from a live eagle from the Ogden Nature Center were also part of the event.

"These men are all in their 30s or close to their 30s but because they are special needs, the age requirement to receive their Eagle Scout does not apply," said Scoutmaster Keith Hadley. "They have worked very hard and it's taken several years of hard work."

The scouts are all members of Troop 62, which includes a total of 16 men ranging in age 19 to 54. Special Needs Scouts follow the advancement of regular Boy Scouts, earning merit badges along the way, Hadley said. Because many of them cannot read or write, the leaders provide help and try to ensure they do all of the requirements as much as they can.

"Every one of these men has individual needs and challenges. They struggle with things that we all take for granted and are simple for us," said Alan Neal, an activity director for the Scouts. "But they never say, 'I quit.'

"These young men have been working on their Eagle award for two and three times longer than most scouts. These are awards that were truly earned. They had to go through everything that any other Eagle candidate goes through, from the hikes and the swims, right down to the Eagle project."

Wimpee, 28 of Ogden, is the son of Cathy Dolan and Greg Wimpee. He earned 43 merit badges and is a member of the Order of the Arrow. His Eagle service project was titled "Beautification of the Hillcrest Elementary School." For the project, Wimpee organized a group of volunteers to pull weeds in flower beds and spread wood chips around the playground equipment.

Chris Ure, 33, of Hooper is the son of Steve and Anita Ure. He has earned 49 merit badges and is also a member of the Order of the Arrow. His Eagle project was titled, "Hygiene Kits for the Homeless." Chris organized a group of Boy Scouts and leaders to assemble donated zip-lock bags of hygiene items and distributed them to St. Anne's Homeless Shelter.

Jeff Ure, 34, and the brother of Chris, earned 33 merit badges. His Eagle Scout project was titled, "Creating a Safe Playground for Canyon View School." For the project, Jeff organized Scouts, leaders, parents and grandparents to clean up two playgrounds and spread sand under playground equipment. On his first day as a scout, his leaders said he announced to everyone that he was going to be an Eagle Scout one day.

"They are so excited," Neal said. "This achievement is equal to a masters degree for them."

The Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the Scouting program. Requirement includes earning a minimum of 21 merit badges and heading and managing a service project.

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