Millner achieves Eagle Scout rank

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 4/18/01.

Jon Millner, a senior at Paynesville Area High School, learned last year that nothing gets done unless you take the time to do it. Millner took the time and will reap the rewards of his efforts on Sunday, receiving the Eagle Scout ranking, the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America.

His Court of Honor is scheduled for Sunday, April 22, at 1:30 p.m. at St. Louis Catholic Church.

To become an Eagle Scout, a scout needs to complete more than 25 badges, implement a community service project, and appear before a district board of review.

Millner has worked his way through the scout ranks from Tiger Scout up to eagle. In the summer of 1999, he worked at Cuyuna Scout Camp teaching merit badges.

Paynesville has had more than 15 Eagle Scouts, including Leo Louis, Lyle Wendroth. Loren Wendroth, Larry Wendroth, Gary Wagner, Jared Morris, Mike Klein, Scott Morris, Mike Putzke, Eric Werlinger, David Scheierl, Jeff Skrypek, Ryan Louis, Casey Meagher, Jamie Gilk, and Scott Ingalsbe.

In looking for a project, Millner approached Bertha Zniewski, curator of the Paynesville Area Historical Museum, in the spring of 1999. Leo Louis, a board member of the historical society, suggested Millner develop a 90 by 100-foot area of native prairie wildflowers. This had been a project the historical society had wanted since it moved to its present location along Highway 23. The historical society had been putting up a prairie scene and the wild prairie grass and flowers complement the exhibit.

After getting the paper work started for his project, Millner stopped all work because he felt he was doing it for all the wrong reasons, as something that would look good on scholarship applications.

"I pondered all winter whether I should finish what I started or drop the project," Millner said. "At that point, I had no intention of completing the project."

It wasn't until Millner discussed his reasons for not moving forward with the project with Louis that he changed his mind. "I didn't feel worthy to be an Eagle," Millner said. That conversation with Louis and his girlfriend's encouragement helped convince him to complete his Eagle project.

"I found out that after I did some of the work, it really wasn't as hard as I made it out to be. There were a lot of people willing to help me," Millner said.

With the help of the Boy Scouts, Millner prepared the ground for planting of the prairie grass and wildflowers last summer.

Leo and Adrian Louis helped Millner select and order wildflower and grass seeds. Among the wildflowers planted were prairie sage, goldenrod, blackeyed susans, and coneflowers.

Another part of his project included erecting a windmill.

Louis and Mike Bennett welded angle irons and steel disks to the bottom of the windmill to help anchor the tower. A tractor and loader were used to raise the windmill upright.

Millner is looking forward to seeing the flowers bloom this spring. He has already noticed the winter weather took its toll on the windmill. It isn't standing as straight as it should be and will need to be straightened.

Millner believes this project has, in a sense, made him grow up. "I found out things don't get done until we are willing to do them," he said.

Millner is the son of Donald and Mary Millner, Paynesville.

In addition to scouting, Millner is active in the band and marching band. He is also a member of the chess club and German club at school.

For the past three years, Millner has gone on mission trips to Guatemala and plans to return again someday. He has been in karate for more than nine years and has started helping teach younger students.

After graduation, Millner will be joining the Army Reserve as an intrepreter in its special forces division.

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