Eagle Scouts receive badges

Published 11:48 pm Saturday, March 21, 2009

Two young men achieved the highest honor bestowed by The Boy Scouts of America. Eric Roussell Jr. and Mark Black received Eagle Scout badges during a ceremony held at Memorial United Methodist Church on Saturday.

“It’s great,” Roussell said. “It’s a lot of hard work. You’ve just got to stick with it.”

Roussell and Black are members of Troop 126, which is part of the Tukabatchee Council. The boys said they could never have achieved this goal without help.

Email newsletter signup

“My troop gave me all the help and support along the way,” Black said.

Parents were just as important, too.

Both boys’ parents sat on the front pew in the church Saturday. Eric Roussell Sr., Mina Roussell, Anthony Black and Vivian Black beamed as they pinned the Eagle Scout badges onto their sons’ khaki shirts.

“The most exciting part is that he and his best friend have crossed this bridge together,” Mina said.

Eric Sr. was his son’s Tiger Cub leader, and they stuck together the last 12 years. Eric Sr. serves as Troop 126’s assistant scoutmaster.

“It’s been a long road, but one we knew he could do,” Eric Sr. said.

Vivian sliced a red, white and blue frosted cake during a reception that followed the ceremony. She said the day was all the more special because the boys are so close.

“Words can’t describe how proud we are,” she said.

Achieving Eagle Rank is a rigorous process. A scout must earn 21 merit badges, serve as a leader in the troop, live by the Scout Oath and Law and complete a community service project.

While the boys will move away to college in the fall – Eric Jr. to Auburn University to major in aerospace engineering and Mark to Tuskegee University to major in electrical engineering – both said they want to become leaders in their new communities.

“I’m going to get involved in some community work,” Mark said.

They will not forget their hometown, either.

“I’m still going to try and get back to Selma when I can,” Eric Jr. said.

Anthony said there is no doubt in his mind the boys would continue to succeed.

“He’s headstrong,” Anthony said of Mark. “He’s ready to do it.”

Troop 126 Scoutmaster Paul Bearden said Eric Jr. and Mark embody what Eagle Scouts should be.

“They’re two of the best scouts I’ve ever had,” Bearden said of his 23-year career in scouting. “What an Eagle Scout should be.”

Superintendent Dr. Austin Obasohan attended the ceremony, which celebrated the accomplishments of two Selma City School students.

“This is another example of the types of children we have,” Obasohan said. “When a community works together, you produce results like this.”