By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Tyler Pierce, a fourth-generation parishioner of St. Peter the Apostle Church, credits his late great-grandfather with the drive and determination it took to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Pierce, a junior at Butler High School, is a member of Troop 51 at St. Peter the Apostle and he promised his great-grandfather, James Freeman, that he would become an Eagle Scout.
Though Freeman, who died in 2010, didn’t live to see his great-grandson receive the highest Scouting distinction, Pierce said he knows his great-grandfather would be proud.
At his Court of Honor ceremony in August, Pierce cited Freeman as his mentor.
“He was my inspiration as I worked my way to Eagle Scout,” he said. “(At the Court of Honor) I talked about how I remembered all the awards he received and being at the level he was. I think he would be proud considering I made it.” Pierce made his comments in an interview at St. Andrew Academy last week.
Freeman was Scout Master of Troop 51 in the late 1960s and early 1970s at the former St. Clement Church. (In 2008, the five parishes of St. Clement, Our Lady Help of Christians, Our Lady of Consolation, St. Polycarp and St. Timothy merged to form St. Peter the Apostle.) He also received the St. George Award, which recognized an individual for “outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of Catholic youth in the program of the Boy Scouts of America,” according to the National Catholic Committee on Scouting’s website.
Pierce’s father, Jody Pierce, who is the current Scout Master of Troop 51 said Freeman had a grand sense of adventure and had traveled to nearly every state in the Union — with the exception of Maine.
Pierce has earned numerous religious scouting medals, including The Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei and Ad Altare Dei. He is in the process of completing his fourth and last one — the Pope Pius XII award.
For his Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project, Pierce assembled a donated play structure at St. Andrew Academy. The used structure was donated by Brad Barz, the husband of Jennifer Barz, principal of St. Andrew Academy.
Pierce organized his troop and other volunteers during the course of five weeks last summer to reassemble the play structure. Pierce and his father were careful to adhere to safety codes, he said. The play center will be used by early elementary students at St. Andrew Academy.
“I figured the school could always use something. I met with the principal and we came up with some ideas to improve the school. From those options, I picked something I was good at,” Pierce, a graduate of the parish school, said.
Pierce said his involvement in Scouts has taught him to give back to his community. Each year, Troop 51 is involved in numerous service projects including Backpacks for Education, a river cleanup, Operation Brightside community cleanup, a chili supper at an assisted living community and several flag ceremonies.
“It’s good to clean up and make our community look the best as possible. It’s wrong to desecrate someone else’s property,” Pierce said.