Two Eagles Take Flight

Landon Oxley and James Hawkins earned the rank of Eagle this past Saturday.


Nathan Jackson

Landon Oxley and James Hawkins hold their certificates for earning Eagle Scout after their Court of Honor.

Nathan Jackson
The various certificates and medals Hawkins and Oxley were awarded at their Court of Honor. This includes their Eagle Palms which are awarded for extra merit badges earned.

The Eagle Scout rank is the highest honor in the Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts of America). It’s more than just a personal goal for many scouts. It is a testament to a recipient’s leadership ability, determination, and skill. Two Yellow Jackets, Landon Oxley (12) and James Hawkins (12) rose to the rank of Eagle at their joint court of honor this past weekend.

Earning the rank of Eagle is a daunting task, which, according to Hawkins, “…requires many merit badges and skill demonstrations to complete along with a service project which demonstrates leadership ability…” It is certainly nothing to scoff at, as many scouts who go through the program never reach this achievement.

Nathan Jackson
Current members of Troop 14 reconnect with old members who are now aged out after the Court of Honor. (From left to right: Ben Luckett, Nate Hernandez, Jack Landon, Jonathan Linton (10) and James Hawkins(12).)

The most intimidating task for a scout on their way to Eagle is the Eagle project. The scout must conceive, plan, propose, and complete a service project for a nonprofit organization of their choice. Oxley chose to lead his troop members in cleaning, painting, and woodworking in order to remodel the youth room and Sunday school rooms of his church. Hawkins took donations of shoeboxes and toys so he could send care packages to foster kids on their birthdays.

Because BSA requires scouts to lead a service project, practice life skills, and hold leadership positions, becoming an Eagle Scout can set a life of success in motion. Many Eagle Scouts have gone on to become presidents, governors, astronauts, senators, supreme court justices, and businessmen.

Nathan Jackson
Lisa Hawkins proudly pins the Eagle Scout badge to her son’s uniform.

Attaining the Eagle Scout rank requires a scout to face many challenges. For Hawkins, his greatest challenge was picking a project. Hawkins wanted to conduct a project that would “…have a good impact and actually be useful and meaningful while not being overly complicated.” Oxley’s biggest obstacle was different than Hawkins’. “My greatest challenge was probably timing because I did not have a lot of time. You can Eagle within a year and a half when you first join, however, most people take their time,” said Oxley. He joined his troop at the age of 16, much later than the average scouter who typically starts in middle school. Earning Eagle first requires many other merit badges and rank advancements, many of which require a lot of time. Most scouts don’t have to worry too much about these, but because Oxley joined later they could have been a pain for him if he hadn’t managed his time so well. “… A reasonable amount of time would be four years, I did not have four years. I had about three months of wiggle room,” said Oxley.

While their timelines looked very different, the two young men held their special court of honor together because they have been friends for many years. Hawkins is the one who convinced Oxley to join in the first place. According to Oxley, “I entered because of James, might as well leave with James.”

Nathan Jackson
Seniors Landon Oxley (left) and James Hawkins (center) receive the Eagle Scout Oath together recited by Don Hawkins (right), their Scout Master and James’s father.
Nathan Jackson
This table, set up in front of where the Court of Honor was held, displays all of the awards and achievements earned by Hawkins and Oxley.

The two reflected on their experiences in scouting, and Oxley had this to say: “Overall, I would say it was really educational and informative and kind of gave me directions as to what a productive member of society is.” Hawkins called it, “An amazing experience and something that I am incredibly glad I went through because I feel it greatly improved my life and overall was some of the most fun I’ve had.”