Walk Like An Eagle, Talk Like An Eagle

Chuck May Scoutmaster's Minute

David May Eagle Ceremony

26 February 1989

Mr. Jim Boerger, in his book The Scoutmaster, tells the story of John Hillebrenner, from Illinois. After high school, John went to college in Utah. Toward the end of his senior year, he started to run short of money. He could have written home for money, but was too proud, so he decided to solve the problem himself, by borrowing the $100 he needed.

Not being bashful, he made an appointment with the president of the local bank. Things went fine until the banker asked about collateral to guarantee the loan. Now, what kind of collateral would a college student have? No car, no job yet; if he could have afforded collateral, he wouldn't have needed the loan.

Dejected, John started to leave the bank without the loan. Just as he reached the door of the bank, he remembered a wrinkled card which he carried in his wallet. Thinking it wouldn't hurt to try, he walked into the banker's office and thrust forward his Eagle Scout card. "Is this good enough collateral for the bank, sir?", he asked. A smile came over the banker's face as he replied, "No, son, it isn't good enough for the bank; but it is good enough for me." With that, the banker wrote a personal check to young Hillebrenner for the $100.

In his letter of congratulations to Dave, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy write that, when he is reviewing candidates for jobs as clerks of the Supreme Court, he gives special attention to applicants who are Eagle Scouts.

These two different stories illustrate the point that Eagle is not just a silver medal you wear - it is something that you are. The Eagle badge does not make you trustworthy, or a leader, but it is evidence, which the whole world will recognize for the rest of your life, that you have become that kind of person.

So, how do you become an Eagle Scout? Congressmen these days are fond of the saying, "If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck." The way to become an Eagle Scout is to start by acting like an Eagle Scout. Re-read the Scout Oath and Law tonight. Look at some of the letters in Dave's notebook, or the notebooks of other Eagles. Then keep asking yourself, "Am I being the kind of person that astronaut Neil Armstrong, or basketball star David Robinson, or coach Joe Paterno, or Justice Kennedy, or the banker in Utah, would recognize as an Eagle?"

If you make up your mind now to do your best to live the Scout Law, and to act like an Eagle Scout every chance you get, every one of you could be up here receiving an Eagle Scout badge, and nothing could make me more proud.



Chuck May, 1996


May be distributed freely, with attribution, for non-commercial use within the Scouting community.

Return to Scoutmaster Minutes Index