During a Jan. 10 special ceremony at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, Aaron Mulkey, 17, officially received the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.
For every 100 boys who join scouting only one will push forward to receive their Eagle Scout rank. Mulkey now joins a prestigious list that includes astronauts Neil Armstrong and James Lovell, former President Gerald Ford, NFL Coach Jim Mora, movie producer Steven Spielberg, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and many governors, senators, business leaders, and Medal of Honor recipients across the United States.
To attain this rank is no easy task. Mulkey put in more than 6,000 hours of diligent work learning and earning merit badges in first aid, wilderness survival and outdoor skills. He also gained experience in leadership and other fields, including astronomy and woodworking.
In addition to many skills, the scouting program stresses character development of a young men who ascend to the rank of Eagle Scout. Qualities like honor, loyalty, courage, cheerfulness and humility are all part of the Scout Law. As a culmination on the road to earning the Eagle rank, scouts must complete a service project which benefits the community. Mulkey’s service project was building a fence around his church’s solar panels.
As part of Mulkey’s ceremony, several people gathered to honor Mulkey, sharing words of wisdom with more than 100 friends and family who attended the ceremony.
Guest speakers included Pastor Craig Shigyo of Oakhurst Evangelical Free Church, Christina Hall, field representative for Congressman Tom McClintock, Madera County Superior Court Judge Dale Blea, Madera County District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler, and Dr. Don Lawrence, professor at Azusa Pacific University. The speakers made poignant comments and stirring challenges not only for Mulkey, but for all who attended.
Oakhurst has several Boy Scout troops and each troop has had boys making the rank of Eagle Scout. From Troop 316, 12 Eagle Scouts have emerged since 2007, a record Scoutmaster Jack Bayt is proud of.
“It is my greatest reward to see the transition that takes place in a young boy as he progresses through the scouting program,” Bayt said. “A shy kid turns into quite an enjoyable and respectable young man. Instead of the self focus there becomes an others focus, willingly reaching out and serving others with boldness and kindness. It is exciting to see our small community have such quality young men.”
Other Eagles joined in honoring Mulkey, including his father David Mulkey, his uncle Brian Onterveros, and cousin Benji Onterveros. Several community members including Drew Radsloff of Finebuilt Construction, 1947 Eagle Scout Dwayne Wilson, Peter McClean, Christopher Wilson, Kenny Jeffries and Nathan Lynch.
“Scouting has been a great experience,” Aaron Mulkey said. “I have learned many skills and have been challenged in many ways. It is very encouraging to stand before a group of people and receive such an award. It makes you understand that there are people cheering you on in life and you are not alone. It makes you want to keep going. I am very grateful of all the friends and family who have supported me.”
- Staff Report