Andrew Gregg’s Eagle Award project entailed the design, construction and installation of brush boots and informational signs in parks to help stop the spread of invasive species.
Andrew Gregg’s Eagle Award project entailed the design, construction and installation of brush boots and informational signs in parks to help stop the spread of invasive species.
A family made for Scouting and a legacy of honor is what was witnessed on Saturday, Oct. 26, in Harmony as the Gregg family saw yet another of their own join the ranks of the Eagle Scouts.

Andrew Gregg is 16-years old and a junior at Fillmore Central High School. His quiet demeanor is what one might notice at first, but it does not come close to describing who he is. He is a Scout. For the Gregg family, that title means a lot - more than just camping, tying knots or doing "a good turn daily."

Andrew started his Scouts participation in the first grade as a Cub Scout. He rose through the ranks and transitioned to Boy Scouts in the seventh grade. It was during that time when he began Boy Scouts that Andrew realized he wanted to be the best Scout he could be.

The Gregg family lived in Windom at that time and Andrew and his younger brother, Matthew, were members of the Windom Troop 10. The activity and adventure of Scouts drew them in and has kept them active throughout the years. "You get to interact and have fun," Matthew summed up.

Between Andrew, Matthew and their parents, LeAnn and Ron, the Gregg family has put hours upon hours of time into Scout activities. The reasons why they have dedicated themselves to Scouting are located in the Scout Oath:

"On my honor I will do my best. To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight."

"Everything you do, it builds key and core values we thought were important," explained Ron on the importance of Scouting for his sons. He recalled some of the experiences he had as a Scout when he spent summers sleeping in Army tents with mosquitos swarming around him. Laughing, he said he might have had a more rustic Scouts experience than what his sons have experienced. Both Andrew and Matthew have had numerous, positive learning experiences from Scouts that haven't always been easy.

Andrew recalled a project the Windom troop had worked on which required them to place tarps around the bases of 150 trees at a nearby orchard. He and Matthew have also participated in the Scouting for Food program, which is a one-day food drive benefitting local food shelves. Whenever Scouts in their troop worked on an Eagle Award project, the brothers would be there, helping out. Numerous church dinners, clean-up projects and other volunteer efforts later, they would still find time to go camping and experience the "fun" of Scouts.

It was during one of those camping visits to Whitewater State Park near Elba, Minn., that Andrew figured out what his Eagle Award project would be. Having risen to the Life Rank, he had been considering what he would do for his project.

Eagle Scout projects require the Scout to come up with the project idea and lead his troop in all fundraising and project completion efforts. At Whitewater, he had attended a seminar on buckthorn, an invasive species. He had seen signs alerting visitors to the park about its presence and the park's strategies to mitigate its spread.

"I started thinking, 'That's what I should do,'" recalled Andrew.

After receiving approval for his idea from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in Windom and the Twin Valley Council, Andrew moved forward with his project. Working closely with a specialist at the FWS, he designed a sign that would provide information about invasive species. As part of the sign, a brush boot would be attached to it so visitors could wipe their feet before entering or leaving the park. The idea, Andrew hoped, would help prevent invasive plants from spreading to other parts of the state.

Andrew fundraised the money for the signs and brush boots, purchased the supplies, and led his troop in constructing two signs with the brush boots. A third sign would be constructed later. The signs were then installed by the troop in Nobles, Murray and Cottonwood counties. The entire project lasted roughly six months and Andrew finished it the day before he and his family moved to Harmony on May 25, 2013.

"It was nice to see six months of work. I was happy that it was done," Andrew said. Though he completed the project as a member of the Windom Troop 10, the Gregg family decided to hold the Court of Honor ceremony for Andrew in Harmony.

A family tradition

At the ceremony held at Nativity Catholic Church, it was very clear that Andrew was not alone in his outstanding efforts in Boy Scouts. There to support him as he received the rank of Eagle were six other Eagle Scouts and all members of his family.

The legacy of active Gregg Boy Scouts began with Andrew's great-grandfather, Russell Gregg, Sr., who had earned the highest council leader award in Scouts, the Silver Beaver Award. His son, Russell Gregg, Jr., was a Scoutmaster. His sons, Charles, Ronald, Robert and Paul, each achieved the Eagle Scout rank and have been involved in Scout leadership throughout their lives. Among the remaining male relatives, seven have already received their Eagle Awards and four others are rising in the ranks toward that future achievement.

Robert commented on the Gregg history in Scouts, "It's amazing that it keeps going on and on. Everyone just stays in Scouts. It's part of our culture."

Ron shared that the family has always connected with the outdoors and thus, Scouting.

The Court of Honor contained flag ceremonies, the Eagle Scout Oath recitation, the award presentation and an opportunity for Andrew to thank his parents for their guidance through the entire process.

LeAnn, who worked with the Cub Scouts in Windom, said she would often remind her boys of the Scout Oath and to "remember that you are a Scout."

Ron worked tirelessly as a Scoutmaster and paid witness to Andrew's growth through Scouts. "His ability to take on projects and do it himself has increased. He is able to be more self-dependent," he explained.

Andrew thanked his parents by presenting them with pins during the ceremony. Ron expressed his pride in seeing his son receive the Eagle Award. "There is a sense of accomplishment."

Andrew can continue to earn additional merit badges to earn the bronze, gold and silver palm awards. By earning his Eagle Award, Andrew also becomes an example to his brother, who is working on his Life Award. So, his work has not ended.

"Once you're a Scout, you are always a Scout," said Ron.

For the Gregg family, it's a phrase that rings true throughout generations, past and present, and which will continue to ring true into the future.