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A family of Eagle Scouts
Three local brothers garner highest Boy Scouts rank
Three brothers - Gregory, Steven, and Griffeth Parrish - became Eagle Scouts Sunday, the highest advancement rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. The brothers are members of Statesboro's Troop 342. - photo by BOBBY NESSMITH/special

Eagle Scouts

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    Sunday afternoon was an exciting and emotional time for a local family.
    Three brothers —Gregory, Steven, and Griffeth Parrish — became Eagle Scouts, the highest advancement rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. The brothers are members of Statesboro’s Troop 342.
    According to Internet web site, the Eagle Scout award is a performance based achievement in the areas of citizenship training, character development, and personal fitness. To become an Eagle Scout, a candidate must fulfill requirements in leadership, service, and outdoor skills. Only an estimated four percent of scouts nationwide ever achieve such an honor. The Eagle Court of Honor convened Sunday in the fellowship hall of Statesboro Primitive Baptist Church. There, the brothers’ portfolios were displayed, along with numerous photographs and awards surrounding their projects.
    Gregory, 22, is the oldest of the Parrish brothers. In 2002, he built and installed planter boxes for 20 residents of Statesboro’s Braswell Homes. “Many elderly ladies moved [to Braswell Homes] from rural areas, and they wanted to bring a little of the country with them,” Gregory said. “I was glad to help them do just that.” Greg is a student at Georgia Southern University, pursuing a major in history and a minor in Spanish. He plans to graduate in the Spring of 2007.
    When Steven learned of an opportunity to assist an injured person in the community, he was honored to take part in the project. Sponsored by the Statesboro Kiwanis Club, the 20-year-old was able to construct a wheelchair ramp for a lady who suffered from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 2004. Steven attends Ogeechee Technical College, where he is working toward certification in geographic information systems technology.
    Being the youngest of the three brothers, Griffeth definitely had high expectations to meet. Earlier this year, he designed, built, and installed over 20 bluebird boxes at George L. Smith State Park in Emanuel County. “My dad gave me the idea,” Griffeth said. “He said that there weren’t enough bluebird boxes. I contacted [park officials], and they were glad to get them.” Griffeth is an 18-year-old freshman at Georgia Southern University, considering a major in journalism. The three young men are the second generation of Eagle Scouts in the Parrish family. The boys’ father, Greg Sr., is also an Eagle Scout, along with brothers Hank, who was present at the ceremony, and Steve, who is now deceased.
    The ceremony began with the presentation of colors, followed by the recitation of the Boy Scouts oath, motto, and slogan. Fellow scouts participated in the lighting of several candles, marking the levels of advancement for scouts. Three special candles were lit to represent purity, loyalty, and courage - character traits possessed by all members of Boy Scouts of America.
    Lovett Bennett, Scout Master for Troop 342, presided over the ceremony, assisted by former Scout Master John Russell. Russell served as the head of Troop 342 for over 20 years before retiring in 2004.
    Both Gregory and Steven were scheduled to be honored at earlier dates, but their ceremonies were postponed due to extenuating circumstances. Their father was injured in an automobile accident, and subsequently suffered from several complications from the same incident. “These boys have had their ups and downs,” Russell said. “It’s great to watch them persevere, hold their heads up, and keep going”.
     Greg Sr. and Jane, the boys’ parents, assisted with presenting their sons’ awards. Each brother received an Eagle Scout scarf and a medal bearing the Boy Scouts of America motto, “Be Prepared.” In return, the boys presented their parents with miniature eagle pins, in honor of their dedication and sacrifice throughout the years.
    Gregory, Steven, and Griffeth all agree that their success wouldn’t have been possible without the love and support of their family and friends. Aside from their parents, one man sticks out in the minds of all three boys. Dr. Richard Persico served as the assistant Scout Master of their troop for several years. Despite his duties as a professor of anthropology at Georgia Southern University, Dr. Persico made time to encourage these young men and offer guidance as they advanced in the organization. Sadly, Dr. Persico passed away several years ago due to health-related complications. “He was probably the most influential man in our lives,” Gregory said. “He was a great guy.”
    Eagle Scouts from past generations joined together to conclude the ceremony, charging the scouts to “undertake citizenship with dedication, become leaders, and be among those who dedicate their abilities to the common good of all people.”
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