Eagle Scouts flock together at Evansville’s Troop 514

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Ted Sullivan
February 22, 2010
— David Fellows was a teenager in 1948 when he pushed for his Eagle Scout rank.

But he wasn’t a good swimmer.

The next year, he attended camp and spent two weeks practicing in the Rock River.

“I got through it and received my Eagle in 1949,” the 77-year-old said.

Fellows was one of 11 men from Evansville’s Troop 514 who attended an Eagle Scout reunion at Evansville High School on Saturday.

The troop has had 61 Eagle Scouts since its inception in 1919.

Bill Hartje, assistant scoutmaster for the troop, said the Evansville Lions Club chartered the group. The troop had its first Eagle Scouts in the 1930s. Most of the 61 Eagle Scouts are still alive.

“There are very few troops across the country that have a legacy like Troop 514,” Hartje said. “There are very few troops with that much time.”

About 100 people attended the reunion. Local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts received awards at the event. People viewed displays of the troop’s history against the wall.

Rudy Steinhoff, an Eagle Scout living in Illinois, returned for the reunion.

He said Boy Scouts taught him values such as honesty and loyalty that he still uses today.

He enjoyed being among other Eagle Scouts, and he recalled fondly the days of canoe trips and camping. He became an Eagle Scout in 1980.

“I think Scouting is a very good program in Evansville,” Steinhoff said.

After Fellows achieved Eagle, he entered the Navy.

He had to learn how to escape from a crashed airplane in water. He had to swim long distances under water and swim laps in a pool. His time learning how to swim in Scouts paid off.

“I lived up to the Boy Scouts’ motto, and what is that: ‘Be prepared,’” he said. “I got through it all, but I had my moments of doubt.”

Fellows urged the Cubs and Scouts to become Eagles.

“The future of Scouting in your lives is very, very bright,” he said. “Make the most of it. Grab it by the horns.”

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