PHILLIPS — Benjamin Butterfield received Boy Scouts’ highest rank, that of Eagle Scout, on Veterans Day at the United Methodist Church in Strong.

Benjamin has been in Scouts since the third grade. He entered as a Bear Scout and is a member of Troop 500 of Strong.

For his Eagle Scout project, Benjamin chose to clean up about 65 Veterans gravestones in Riverside Cemetery in Phillips. Benjamin’s father, Robert “Zeke” Butterfield, served in the Navy. Scout leader Kenneth Flagg served in the Army.

“Some of the Veterans had served in World War II. Others had served in the Civil War. Some of the gravestones had been there since the mid-1800s and not tended to since then,” he said.

More than a dozen community members and other Scouts helped with the project over four different days.

“Over 100 man hours were spent at the cemetery. Way over 100 hours with the planning,” mom Sheila Butterfield said.

Benjamin said Jane Stinchfield showed him how to properly clean the gravestones. He then showed the other volunteers.

“We used a cleaning substance that’s not too harmful. When mixed with water it makes the stone look like new again,” Benjamin said.

“It was a lot of work. Everyone got really excited. They’d call each other over when it was time to spray down a stone. It went from a black mass to nice and shiny,” Sheila said.

Benjamin said there were a few stones that were tipped over or damaged which were not moved. A professional would be needed to realign them.

To qualify for the Eagle Scout rank, 21 merit badges must be earned. There are 13 silver ones that must be included along with eight chosen from a wide variety of programs.

Strong Troop 500 Scout leader Kenneth Flagg at left and Benjamin Butterfield of Phillips are seen at the ceremony where Benjamin received the rank of Eagle Scout. (Courtesy photo)

Benjamin earned 36 merit badges.

“For every five extra, you get an Eagle palm. There are bronze, silver and gold. I got one of each,” Benjamin said.

The badge he enjoyed the most was wilderness survival.

“I completed the requirements multiple times. Three times I slept in a shelter I made myself,” Benjamin said.

The most difficult badge was personal finance. All money Benjamin earned and spent for three months had to be kept track of. That information had to be mailed to his counselor.

“It took a lot of organizing, he said.

Benjamin Butterfield recites the Scout Oath at the Eagle Scout Court of Honor held on Veterans Day in Strong. The Phillips youth is a member of Strong Troop 500. He cleaned the gravestones of Veterans in the Riverside Cemetery for his Eagle Scout project. (Courtesy photo)

Fingerprinting was the easiest badge. It took 15 minutes to do while at summer camp.

Camping was the most challenging. He had to have 20 camping days at different camps and only one camp could be counted as five days.

“It took a long time. It was the last badge to do,” Benjamin said.

He has held a variety of offices in the Scout troop, including Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and Senior Patrol Leader.

Sheila Butterfield of Phillips pins the Eagle Scout medal onto the uniform of her son Benjamin Butterfield. (Courtesy photo)

“Senior Patrol Leader is the highest office that can be held as a Scout. That was the best learning experience for me. I had to set up everything, plan meetings. It was a lot of work. It was my favorite,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin will be aging out of Scouts when he turns 18 on December 1. He will serve on the Scout committee.

“We’re always looking for adult volunteers. We never have enough,” Sheila said.

Benjamin is a senior and class president at Mt. Abram High School. He played center back for the soccer team this year and is a shooting guard or small forward for the basketball team.

Benjamin is also involved with track, competing in the 400 meter and 4 X 400 meter relay among others. He ran the second leg in the 4 X 800 meter relay team which holds the school record of nine minutes two seconds. He also holds the school record of eight minutes two seconds for the 1600 meter race walk event.

Benjamin Butterfield hugs his dad, Robert “Zeke” Butterfield, after presenting him with the Eagle Scout Dad pin. Scout leader Ken Flagg looks on. (Courtesy photo)

A member of the Outdoor Club and the National Honor Society, Benjamin is busy with a NHS fundraiser that will help send Boy Scouts to summer camp. He is making fire starters from egg cartons, shavings, sawdust and wax. Two may be purchased for $1.

He will be involved in an NHS food drive in the spring and other fundraisers.

“I enjoy meeting new people. There are a lot of people from towns, other areas I wouldn’t normally meet. With Scouting, I meet a whole different community of people. They’re nice,” Benjamin said.

For more information on Scout Troop 500 or to volunteer, call Scout leader Kenneth Flagg at 684-3635.

[email protected]


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