Three local Scouts were recognized during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor on Sunday, June 25, Dunnellon Methodist Church. The trio, Max Chastek, Luke Chastek and Matthew Rapp, join only four percent of the nation’s Scouts to achieve the Scout’s highest rank, Eagle Scout.
After the presenting of the colors, the ceremony was called to order and Pastor Eddie Fulford of Dunnellon Methodist Church offered the invocation.
Family, friends and local community leaders joined the Scouts during the ceremony and luncheon afterward. Each Eagle Scout was presented with certificates and commendations from many of the community leaders, including an Eagle Scout neckerchief, presented by Alan May and John Renyhart of the Ocala Lions Club. May and Michael Miller, representing the Ocala Elks Lodge, presented each with a flag. Bob Schlegel, chairman of the local Scout council, presented each with a Challenge Coin on behalf of the Masonic Scouters and a patch on behalf of the Military Order of the World Wars.
In addition to achieving Eagle Scout, each young man also excelled in their school studies. Rapp earned his Associate of Arts degree at College of Central Florida and also was valedictorian of Dunnellon High School’s Class of 2023. He is bound for Vanderbilt University in August and will study mathematics.
Max was a graduate of Lecanto High School’s Class of 2022, graduating near the very top of his class, and a member of Lecanto’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program. He’s currently a college sophomore, studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Florida.
Luke recently graduated from Lecanto’s IB program as well, also near the top of his class. He’s joining his brother to also study mechanical engineering in the fall at the UF.
All three spent more than 10 years working towards the goal of becoming Eagle Scouts. A culminating project is one of several requirements to earn the rank as well as earning at least 21 badges and serving in leadership roles in their group. The projects generally require a scout to lead a group to perform a laborious task.
In Max’s and Luke’s case, their projects focused on improving the grounds at the Citrus Springs Library. Max led a group who cleaned up the grounds. The library itself only takes up a small portion, about 15 percent, of the property it’s located on, which is approximately six acres in size. The Citrus Springs Library is run by community volunteers, and the upkeep of the property hadn’t been prioritized for some time, so it was a big undertaking for Max and his crew of volunteers to clean up the wooded area and trim the growth. The project took 180 man hours to complete.
Luke’s project focused on the Citrus Springs Library Parking lot and flagpole area. Taking more than 200 man hours to complete, he led a group of volunteers who cemented the walkway, which in turn provided handicapped access to the flagpole.
Rapp’s project was also about accessibility. Rapp saw a need at Dunnellon Methodist Church for some of the grassy areas between the buildings to be paved, allowing easier access between the front and rear of the church for those in wheelchairs and members of the choir, who often wear dressy shoes that make traveling through grass difficult. Rapp’s project took 128 man hours to complete.
Continuing to pursue an Eagle Scout rank while attacking the demands of high school is no easy task, and Rapp said that when he reached high school, he had to make a decision to cut something out of his schedule to continue to fit scouting into his schedule. Of the 33 badges Rapp earned, he said his favorites were the chess and photography badges.
Max earned his favorite badge, shotgun shooting, during a camping trip to Camp La-No-Che in Paisley, Florida.
Luke said his favorite badge was the wilderness survival badge, which he earned on a camping trip to Hidden Pond in the Ocala National Forest. The trip was also the subject of conversation of Scoutmaster Sam Rankin, who described the challenging hike it took to get there and the beauty of the pond once they discovered it.
Troop Coordinator Ingrid Ellis also spoke of the three young men’s commitment and leadership.
In closing, Rankin urged the trio to “help to build America’s future by continuing to set an example of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship and reverence for God, whatever others may do.” Then, all of the Eagle Scouts in attendance stood and recited their oath.
Troop 574 meets at the Dunnellon Methodist Church. Their next meeting is at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 23. For more information about joining the Scouts, please contact Katey Fontaine firstname.lastname@example.org 352-615-6856 or Sam Rankin email@example.com 352-256-5794.