Owen Riddle, 14, of Sidney, received Scouting’s highest honor, the Eagle Scout rank, after earning more than 70 merit badges and completing a project for the Messalonskee Middle School where he attends school.
Family and friends from as far away as Pennsylvania gathered at the Augusta Elks Lodge on Saturday, November 12, to witness the ceremony. “I like challenges,” Owen said before receiving the Eagle rank. “Scouting is a lot of fun and I enjoy the program a lot.”
“By the authority vested in me by the National Court of Honor of the Boy Scouts of America, it is my privilege and pleasure to pronounce you an Eagle Scout,” announced Pittsfield Troop #428 Scoutmaster Shelley Connolly. Owen’s mother, Sarah Riddle, then pinned the Eagle Scout medal on his uniform shirt pocket flap. His father, David Riddle, swapped off Owen’s old neckerchief for the new Eagle Scout neckerchief.
Owen received his first rank in his Scout Troop, the Scout Rank, on May 17, 2019. During his Eagle ceremony, he was presented 10 Eagle Scout Palms – one for every five merit badges he has earned above the 22 necessary to attain the rank of Eagle. Other awards he has received in Scouting include the Messenger of Peace Award, the National Outdoor Achievement Award for Camping, the Thomas Edison Super Nova recognition, the National Outdoor Achievement Award for Conservation, the World Conservation Award, and the 50th Anniversary Environmental Protection Award.
Eagle Scout Dr. Paul Buckthal, Owen’s grandfather, led his grandson and the other Eagle Scouts in the room in the Eagle Scout Charge. “When you pledge yourself on your sacred honor, using the same words which are found at the end of the Declaration of Independence, you seal your eternal loyalty to the code of the Eagle Scout.” Paul earned his Eagle in 1962 but said that the skills he learned in Scouting and the life lessons of the Eagle Scout rank have been prominent in his life ever since.
“The Eagle soars high and seeks to rest only upon the lofty peaks,” Scoutmaster Connelly said. “As an Eagle Scout, you too must soar high. You must not swerve from the path of duty. You must strive to obtain that which is highest and noblest in life.” His Eagle Scout project saw the construction of eight handicap accessible picnic tables at Messalonskee MIddle School.
After high school, Owen plans to attend medical school and become a doctor. “My life vision is to become an individual that can help others,” he said. “I always feel great about myself when I am helping others in need.”