2008-08-21 / Front Page

Troop I promotes two to Eagle Scout

By Sam Bari

Drew Matley, left, and John Chase both recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank possible in the Boy Scouts. Photo by Sam Bari Drew Matley, left, and John Chase both recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank possible in the Boy Scouts. Photo by Sam Bari Charles A. Mately III and John C. Chase, both 18, recently received an honor awarded to only 5 percent of the Boy Scouts of America. They were promoted to the rank of Eagle Scout at an Eagle Court of Honor held Saturday, Aug. 9, at Ft. Getty. The two Jamestown scouts are members of Troop 1, led by Scoutmaster Dave Volpe.

Mately and Chase graduated from North Kingstown High School in June and both plan on pursuing college careers. Matley has been accepted at URI where he will major in business and Chase will attend Northeastern University where he will study engineering. He has yet to decide whether he'll study electrical or mechanical, "but it will be engineering of some kind," he said.

For his Eagle Scout project, Matley constructed a physics lab apparatus for testing the coefficient of friction. He got the idea from his physics teacher, Mr. Powell, at North Kingstown High School. He said that Powell gave him plans for the apparatus that was needed for instructional purposes in the physics lab. Matley worked every weekend on the project for two months before it was completed.

Chase built a sun-powered desalinization machine for the Rose Island Lighthouse and Museum. He talked to Charlotte Johnson at the lighthouse and she told him that they needed displays. "She gave me rough plans for the display, but I improved them and made an actual working model," Chase said. He worked on the project for three months, starting in October and finishing in December.

Chase said that the building of the project was not the most diffi- cult part of the process in obtaining the Boy Scouts highest honor. "Before we got started we had to write plans, secure funding and present them to our Scout Master, Dave Volpe. Then we had to do the same presentation to the troop committee for their approval. After the plans met committee approval, they had to be sent to the district where they were reviewed again. We couldn't start anything until we had district approval," Chase said.

He said that he and Matley felt lucky to have found projects that met the criteria for approval at all three levels. He explained that the projects themselves had to have merit, then they had to be funded, and they had to be beneficial for a non-profit organization. "Both of our projects were used for education, so that part passed fairly easily," Chase said.

After completing the projects, the scouts were put through the approval process again, Chase said. First they were required to write reports on the building process and get those approved by the troop leader. This was followed by live presentations to the troop committee and finally to the approval committee. After the projects passed the different levels of approval, the scouts were questioned and evaluated by the Eagle Board of Review before being given their promotions.

Chase said the promotion ceremony at the Eagle Court of Honor was special. The scout master reviewed their lives as scouts and listed all of their merit badges and awards. Then they had to give a speech to show leadership and inspire younger scouts. "We also thanked everyone who helped us," Chase said.

Both Chase and Matley said they thanked their parents and families, Troop Leader Dave Volpe, their teachers, and everyone who supported them on the journey to achieving their Eagle Scout rank.

Chase mentioned that every astronaut who landed on the moon was an Eagle Scout.

According to Eagle Scout Slade Downing, Boy Scouts can begin the journey towards Eagle Scout when they are 11 years old. The soonest the rank has ever been achieved was two years. Most take four to seven years, Downing said.

Chase was born in Portsmouth and moved to Jamestown to live on the family-owned Hodgkiss Farm on North Main Road in 1996. He works part time at Jamestown Hardware and lives on the farm with his parents Harry and Gail, and his younger sister, Eliza (Elizabeth).

Matley was born in Jamestown and has lived on the island all his life. He works part time for the DEM at Fort Adams in Newport.

Both young men started their scouting careers as Cub Scouts under troop leader Linda Scott in 1999.

Matley and Chase said they have learned a lot from being involved with scouting, and when asked why they do it, they said in unison, "Because we love it."

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