Eagle Scout award achieved by Eric Werlinger

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 04/29/97.

Eric Werlinger, a senior at Paynesville Area High School, and son of Tony and Barb Werlinger, will receive the Boy Scout's highest honor, the Eagle Award, this Sunday at the St. Louis Catholic Church in Paynesville. After 12 years of scouting and 21 merit badges, Werlinger will finish his years as a Boy Scout with not only scouting skills, but also the ability to use them.

"I'm very proud of it," Werlinger commented about the award. There were eight young men within the same age range who also received the ranking of Eagle Scout, of which he was the last. "We pushed each other to finish," he said. It wasn't easy for Werlinger to finish all the requirements, especially with the community and sports activities he's involved in, not to mention his part-time job, but, "we all had the goal of being Eagle Scouts," he said, and as a Boy Scout, that was something they took seriously.

Considering the amount of work and determination it took Werlinger to get this far, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout was not something he could take lightly. To advance through the early stages of Cub and Boy Scouting and receive merit badges, one must pass certain requirements; such as, being able to tie certain types of knots, knowing the Boy Scout laws and oath, safety, first aid, and camping.

From the time he started in Cub Scouts in 1985, and the Boy Scouts in 1990, he's advanced from the early rankings with his troop to those he earned through his own determination; second class, first class, star, and finally, the highest honor a Boy Scout can receive, that of Eagle Scout.

After achieving second class, a scout must hold a position for six months to advance onto further rankings. Werlinger held the positions of troop guide, where he helped and encouraged younger scouts, as well as that of senior patrol leader.

The ranking of Eagle Scout was slightly more difficult to attain. Werlinger was required to complete a scout project, which he decided on his own. He wasn't sure of the type of project until a friend of the family mentioned the newly remodeled Paynesville Public Library and their need for children's literature book bins.

The project took Werlinger three months to complete with financing from the American Legion, the Paynesville Lions Club, and Friends of the Library. Butch Mueller, an area contractor, and Gretchen Vork, librarian, advised him on the design and materials; he also received much needed help with labor from his friends.

Vork came up with the design, and Mueller went with Werlinger to various local libraries to get an idea of what they'd be working with, as well as a proper type of wood. They decided on Melamine because it would be easier to clean. Werlinger worked the extra hours and with the help of younger scouts and a few friends, they completed the four book bins which are now holding books in the children's section of the library. They also painted the chairs. After all was finished, they spent a couple hours putting all the books back on the shelves.

"There was no way I could have done it alone," Werlinger said. "The project taught me patience," he said. "It was hard getting scouts lined up to help, and some of the wood wasn't cut right. It was more work than I thought it would be, but that was a good thing."

Werlinger commented his years as a Boy Scout helped him in developing his personality, as well as taught him responsibility and the importance of service to his community. The experience also helped him set goals and stick to them, as well as made him aware of skills and talents he didn't realize he had.

The past couple years have perhaps been the busiest for Werlinger, completing his scouting project and being chosen for a special scouting honor, the Order of the Arrow. He's also competed in cross country, basketball, and golf, played his trombone in the concert and jazz bands. In addition to being inducted into the National Honor Society, he has held down a part-time job at Subway.

Werlinger has achieved many things during his years as a Boy Scout, and has attained the skills he needs to give back to his community.

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