Boy Scout Troop 477 presents six Eagle Scouts
Six Eagle Scout awards were presented during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor on May 23 at First Presbyterian Church in Florence. The six scouts have a total of over 30 years as being part of the scouting ministry of Troop 477. Along with friends, the scouts spent over 1,600 hours of community service working on their Eagle scout service projects. Pee Dee Area scout executive Barry McDonald offered congratulations from the National Council, past council president Walt Barefoot read letters of congratulations from Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela and Governor Nikki Haley. The scouts were presented US Flags flown over the state capitol in their honor, a gift from Rep. Jay Jordan.
Zachary, 18, is the son of Richard and Ann Blakelock. He is a senior at West Florence High School. He is a member of St. John’s Church and participates in their youth group. Zachary started his scouting journey in Bristol, Conn. as a Tiger Cub in Pack 425. An active cub scout, he attended cub scout summer camp three years in a row. He completed his cub scout journey earning the Arrow of Light in early 2009.
Moving into Troop 425, he continued his scouting journey, and especially looked forward to the historic trails trips where he had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Annapolis, and Valley Forge and learn about their history. In the summer of 2013, Zachary and his family moved to Florence as part of his father’s relocation with Otis Elevator Company.
He joined Troop 477 that fall. Having trouble with the second class swimming requirement, he was enrolled in a swim class and completed the requirement within a few months. He’s still not a fan of swimming though. With that behind him, he quickly moved up the remaining boy scout ranks and continued participating in most monthly campouts.
His favorite trips have been the 50-mile AT (Appalachian Trail) hike in 2015, the Great Smoky Mountain Lost Sea Trip in 2014, and warm water tubing in Lake Robinson. Zachary’s Eagle Service Project was clearing and installing marked posts along the nature trails at the Florence Presbyterian Community Home off West Lucas Street. A total of 56 service hours were recorded. Zachary is pursuing a job at the Otis Elevator factory, and plans to enroll at Florence-Darlington Tech this fall.
Harrison Troy Smithey
Troy, 18, is the son of Harry and Bonnie Smithey. He has two brothers, Cody and Ryan. He is a senior at South Florence High School and holds the rank of 1st Lieutenant for South Florence NJROTC. Troy is a member of the 1758 robotics team, the Technomancers, and has been all through high school. He is also a member of the Gooney Birds RC flying club and enjoys flying his radio controlled planes on weekends.
Troy began scouting with Cub Scout Pack 241 in Lantana, Fla., and joined Troop 477 in 2009. He has held various patrol positions each year. He has been to Camp Coker six summers and participated in two backpacking trips to Mount Rogers, Va., and a 50-miler on the Appalachian Trail. In 2013 he spent a week canoeing 50 miles in the wilderness of Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park.
In 2014 he traveled to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico and backpacked over 70 miles on a 12-day trek to summit Baldy Mountain at 12,441 ft. Troy was elected into the Order of the Arrow in 2011, earned 33 merit badges, the mile swim award and three 50 miler awards. For his Eagle Scout Project, he removed a runway 12 feet wide and 200 feet long for the Gooney Birds.
This included relocating a fence and capping a water line. Most of the work was done the first day, with some follow up work the next day with a project total of 59 service hours. Troy plans to pursue a career in Air Traffic Control.
Hong-Wei Evan Tan
Evan, 15, is the son of Kai-Song and J.C. Tan. He is a freshman at Florence Christian School where he is a member of the Beta Club and golf team. Evan has been playing the violin since he was six and is a member of the Florence/Darlington Strings Orchestra. His advanced music ability has qualified him to play at the All Region and the All-State Orchestra. Evan is active in the Florence Baptist Temple youth group. Evan joined Cub Scout Pack 504 in 4th grade and received his Arrow of Light. He then joined Troop 477 his 7th grade year.
Evan served as troop scribe and patrol leader in his second year in the troop. He was elected into the Order of the Arrow and took his ordeal in the fall of 2015. He currently holds the position of assistant senior patrol leader. Evan’s first big trip with Troop 477 took place in the summer of 2014, a 5-day journey to the Great Smoky Mountain Lost Sea that really inspired his appreciation for nature and the wilderness.
In the summer of 2015, Evan and his dad hiked the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Rogers. Evan has been to Camp Coker twice and has earned a total of 32 merit badges. He earned the religious award: God and Country in 2014. He plans to go to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree with his brother in West Virginia next summer.
For his Eagle Scout project, Evan designed, coordinated, and created a raised flower bed for Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina. He researched and developed the plans and put together times for fellow scouts and friends to participate. The flower bed is being enjoyed every day at the facility. Evan totaled over 85 hours on his project.
Bryant Callaway Stokes
Bryant, 16, is the son of Brantley and Stephanie Stokes. He is a sophomore at South Florence High where he is a part of the Honors program. He is a member of South Florence Baptist Church and is active with the youth program. Bryant enjoys fishing, hunting, and power lifting.
He plans to pursue a career in physical therapy and kinesiology after high school. Bryant began scouting in the first grade. He joined Cub Scout Pack 477 and worked his way through the ranks. He developed a love of camping during those cub scout years. He enjoyed fishing, exploring, learning about nature and camping on The Yorktown Carrier.
Building Pinewood Derby cars and attending Cub-O-Weens at Camp Coker are some of his favorite cub scout memories. After earning the Arrow of Light, Bryant crossed over to Boy Scout Troop 477. Being a Boy Scout has helped Bryant develop into a well prepared young man. Holding different positions in his troop has helped him develop leadership skills.
Bryant has enjoyed some amazing adventures such as snorkeling with manatees in Florida, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, and kayaking to Bulls Island. His favorite trip was in 2013 when he traveled to Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park. He spent over a week camping there and canoed 50 miles of lakes. Bryant was elected into the Order of the Arrow in 2013, has earned the God and Church award, and 26 merit badges.
Most importantly, he has learned life skills that will be with him forever. For his Eagle Scout Project, Bryant and a great crew of helpers put in a handicap access ramp at the playground of his church. His project totaled 61 service hours.
Harry Patterson Kannon
Patterson, 17, is the son of Emily and Roger Coward, and Pete Kannon of Hope Mills, N.C. He is a junior at West Florence High School and has been a member of the tennis team for the past three years. He is also involved in the Tennis Club and is a member of the Beta Club.
Patterson is a member of St. John’s Church and has been active in the youth group. He also serves as a crucifer during church services. Patterson began scouting with the guidance and encouragement of his uncle, Richard Walker. He began as a Webelos in Pack 475 and joined Troop 477 in 2010. He has served the troop in various leadership roles including quarter master, patrol leader, and senior patrol leader.
Patterson enjoyed three summers at Camp Coker and was elected to the Order of the Arrow. He has earned 22 merit badges. Being a member of Troop 477 enabled Patterson to experience unique backpacking adventures. Under the direction of Hunter Morgan, Patterson has hiked in the High Sierras of Yosemite National Park, paddled in Algonquin, Canada, and twice hiked 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail.
In the summer of 2014 he braved the elements at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Patterson has earned the 50 Miler Award four times. For his Eagle Project, Patterson organized members of the Beta Club at West Florence High school to ring the bells for the Salvation Army’s yearly Christmas fund drive.
He approached the Salvation Army with a proposal to recruit students to ring bells every afternoon for one week plus two entire Saturdays. He involved over 33 students who rang bells for a total of 70 hours and raised nearly a thousand dollars. He follows in the footsteps of his uncle, Pat Patterson, and two cousins, Lawson Walker and Ricky Tyner as an Eagle Scout.
Griffin Walters, 14, is the son of James and Darlene Walters Jr. He is in the 9th grade at Florence Christian School which he has attended since 3K. His favorite sport is soccer which he has played since age three. Griffin has played seven years of recreational soccer and seven years of select soccer and just finished his second year for the Florence Christian Varsity high school soccer team.
Griffin attends Florence Baptist Temple and is active weekly in youth group. Griffin was a cub scout in Pack 476 and joined Troop 477 in 2012. He has enjoyed many outdoor activities in Troop 477 including his favorite, a 2014 multi-state trip which included the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, seeing the Cherokee outdoor drama, N.C. whitewater rafting, spelunking the Lost Sea Cave in Tennessee and an Atlanta Braves game.
In 2015. Griffin hiked 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail and biked the Virginia Creeper rail trail. Another favorite was a trip to Disney and camping in it’s Fort Wilderness campground and swimming with the manatee at Crystal River, Fl. Griffin learned to snow ski during annual scout ski trips to the N.C. mountains and water ski on camping trips to Lake Robinson. He has held multiple leadership positions including scribe and assistant patrol leader.
He was elected into the Order of the Arrow in 2013. He plans to attend Philmont Scout Ranch next summer. Griffin’s Eagle Scout service project was building a boardwalk at Lee State park to give easy access to the water for fishing and boating in the group camping area. He worked on the project for three months.
The first month was planning and working with Brad Lane, Lee State Park ranger. The second and third month was gathering supplies and raising money while building the boardwalk. The total boardwalk length ended up being 68 ft long, costing over $1.300 and totaling over 1,500 service hours. He plans to attend Francis Marion University and Georgia Tech for an engineering degree.