Troop 81 recognizes 50th Eagle Scout
By Maddy Houk
Riordan Zentler of Boy Scout Troop 81 was awarded Scouting’s highest honor, the Eagle Badge, at his rural Patterson home Saturday, Dec. 8..
Zentler, 18, is the 50th Eagle Scout in the troop since it was re-started in 1978 under the leadership of Scoutmaster Ron Swift. Founded in first in 1917, it had been inactive for three years. Those first Eagle scouts were in 1926 and the troop stopped in 1975.
Zentler, son of Jan Zentler and Debbie Lair, earned his Eagle rank in August, and the badge was presented to him at the ceremony. His father is an assistant scoutmaster for the troop.
The 18-year-old said Scouting helped him focus on his goals.
“There’s going to be a few people that get in your way at times, but don’t let them distract you from your goals,” Zentler said. “There’s going to be hard times in troops, and you have to work through it and see the light at the end of the tunnel. You have to live to be an example and try to have a positive attitude, and you will be surprised how much that helps people around you.”
Lair said Troop 81 leaders, including Scoutmaster Kelly Pedron and Swift, contributed to the strength of the local Boy Scouting program and helped her son and other boys.
“I know that completing the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank helped my son in numerous ways and has given him much more confidence in his life choices,” Lair said. “I will always be grateful to the BSA and the people who make it happen.”
Zentler presented a scouting mentor pin to Pedron in recognition of his influence and help over the years.
“Kelly is just a great scoutmaster, very friendly and inspirational,” Zentler said. “He was a guy I could simultaneously respect as my leader and enjoy as my friend.”
Zentler joined the troop in 2005 and earned his Scout rank in May, Tenderfoot rank in August and Second Class rank in December of that year. In October 2007, he advanced to First Class rank. He achieved Star Rank in 2009 and Life Rank the following year before achieving Eagle this summer.
On the road to Eagle, he earned 32 merit badges.
In that time, Zentler has served as patrol leader of the Penguin Patrol and as Troop 81 chaplain’s aide and scribe.
Zentler and fellow Scouts from Patterson traveled to Washington, D.C., and Virginia in 2010 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of scouting.
His Eagle Scout service project began with creation of an Excel spreadsheet of the gravesites at Patterson District Cemetery. Then, he and others in the troop spent more than 60 hours painting section markers on the cemetery grounds.
Zentler also made sure the graves of those who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces were clearly marked to help Scouts set up flags and crosses for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“The big thing was, when we would put out flags for the veterans, we’d miss one or two and get complaints, and so far now we have no complaints,” he said.
Zentler will begin his freshman year at Pepperdine University in Malibu in January. He plans to major in computer science and minor in music, as he sings and plays guitar and piano.
n Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or firstname.lastname@example.org.