Merritt Pino achieves rank of Eagle Scout
VINTON–Merritt Pino received Boy Scouting’s highest honor at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church on March 2. Pino has been involved in scouting since 2002 when he joined Cub Scout Pack 235 at Thrasher.
Pino is the son of Greg and Tina Pino of Goodview. During many of his son’s years in scouting, Greg Pino has served as Cubmaster and Scoutmaster for the Thrasher Scouting organizations.
Merritt Pino is a junior at Staunton River High School (SRHS); but also takes dual enrollment courses at Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) and will receive his Associate’s degree in General Studies next year. Pino saw the CVCC program as an opportunity to extend his education.
“I wanted to challenge myself and also save money on my college education,” said Pino.
Aside from Scouting, Pino is a Blue Ridge District medalist on the SRHS wrestling team, a member of the track team, and plans to play on the football team next season.
After graduation, he hopes to attend the United States Naval Academy to prepare for a career in the Marine Corps.
The Eagle Scout Court of Honor is a very prestigious, memorable, and traditional event. Scout leaders review the candidate’s scouting history from induction to the Eagle Scout rank, stressing his growth in the ideals of scouting.
At Pino’s ceremony, Scout leaders Steve Thrasher, Greg Leslie, and Tyler Prillaman described his advancement and the distinctions he earned through years of hard work during the “Trail of the Eagle” part of the service.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is a long and arduous process, the capstone of a scouting career. Generally, only 2 to 4% of young men involved in scouting advance to the rank of Eagle Scout.
As a Webelos Cub Scout (grades 4 and 5), Pino obtained all 20 possible activity pins and the Arrow of Light, Cub Scouting’s highest award, before “crossing over” to become a Boy Scout in Troop 235 in 2006.
He then set for himself the goal of becoming a First Class Scout in only ten months and was elected into the elite Order of the Arrow. First Class leads on to Star Scout and then Life Scout, as the Scout manual says, “advancing from boyhood to manhood.”
Becoming an Eagle Scout involves not just earning 21 merit badges, but demonstrating Scout spirit, leadership, and service, which culminates with an Eagle Scout project. Pino chose to build a playground at Three Oaks Fellowship United Methodist Church in Hardy.
To meet the project requirements, he designed the site and developed a detailed proposal which had to be approved by the Eagle Scout Board. Once they accepted his proposal, he raised funds to pay for the project, which includes a 40 foot by 20 foot border, a swing set, climbing rope, monkey bars, rock wall, and landscaping.
He was assisted in the construction by other Troop members, family, and friends, but “mainly my Dad,” said Pino.
The Eagle Court of Honor is designed not only to honor the Scout, but to motivate his troop members to continue their scouting journey.
Scouts “age out” when they turn 18 and are no longer eligible to become Eagle Scouts. Many become distracted in their teenage years by sports, cars, dating, and other activities and never reach that rank.
“It takes a lot of determination to become an Eagle Scout,” said Tina Pino. “Becoming an Eagle Scout carries a lot of weight with colleges, with employers, and with the military. It shows you are dedicated and committed.”
The Court of Honor ceremony concludes with the awarding of medals, badges, and certificates and a charge to the Scout to continue throughout his life to be a good citizen, a good leader, courageous, service-oriented, honoring God and country, dedicating one’s skills and abilities to the common good.
Established over one hundred years ago, the Eagle Scout rank is a title held for life. “Once an Eagle, always an Eagle.”