Connor Veglia, Tamaqua, a member of Troop 777, became the Black Rock District's 80th Eagle Scout at a ceremony Sunday at St. John's United Church of Christ in Tamaqua.

As Connor knows, achieving Scouting's highest rank isn't easy; getting the medal out of its presentation box proved to be no simple matter either. The beautiful medal was held to its backer board by several plastic cuffs.

Scoutmaster Scott Winterburn, Black Rock District, Hawk Mountain weathered the slight glitch with aplomb. Did anybody have some clippers?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact. When an Eagle Scout Court of Honor convenes, nearly everyone in the audience comes prepared.

It was a moment befitting the ceremony for Veglia, 18, who is the son of Judy and Brian Veglia, Tamaqua.

"He's easygoing and finds the humor in everything," said his mother, Judy. "He can be serious and hard-working too. Scouting has been a wonderful experience for all of us."

For his Eagle Scout project, Connor built two benches, which are located at the Tuscarora State Park visitors' center and at the Locust Lake State Park playground. He built two picnic tables, which are by the handicapped fishing platform near the Tuscarora boat launch. He also revamped the Scout room at St. John's UCC, installing storage tables, cabinets and racks to better organize supplies.

The Eagle Scout Court of Honor was attended by many dignitaries, including Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison, Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage, state Rep. Jerry Knowles, state Sen. Dave Argall and Dave Shultz, representing the Sons of American Revolution.

In his remarks, Connor credited two mentors, Winterburn and Don Freidhoff, Tamaqua. He also paid homage to his uncle, Jim Veglia, saying that he wished he were there to see the ceremony.

Jim Veglia passed away about four years ago, Connor's mother said after the Court of Honor ceremony.

"He was a real advocate of Scouting," she said. "He, my husband and Connor did a lot of fishing and camping together."

Winterburn said that it had been an enjoyable experience to work with Connor.

"All along, we watched you study and we watched you learn," Winterburn said. "Experience is a valuable teacher."

Eric Resch, assistant district commissioner of the Black Rock District, said that only a small percentage of Boy Scouts achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Resch also presented statistics about the future successes realized by those who were once Boy Scouts.

According to Resch, only one in four boys in America will become Boy Scouts. Of any one hundred boys who become Scouts:

Ÿ Six will become pastors of a church.

Ÿ Half will serve in the military.

Ÿ At least one will rely on Scout training to save someone's life.

Ÿ Seventeen will later become Scout leaders.

Ÿ Only one of the 100 will achieve the Eagle Scout ranking.