The leader of the pack.
As his list of credentials continues to mount, it's no wonder Steven Semmel of Palmerton Boy Scout Troop 20 is viewed as someone worthy to emulate.
Semmel, of Lower Towamensing Township, received his most recent accolade when he was presented with his Eagle Scout Award during an Eagle Court of Honor held Saturday at St. John's Towamensing Lutheran Church in Palmerton.
Assistant Scoutmaster Greg Gruber served as master of ceremonies. He welcomed state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), as well as Lower Towamensing Township Supervisor Brent Green, who were in attendance.
Scoutmaster James Schneck oversaw the presentation of colors and the presentation of Semmel by an honor guard of Scouts from the troop.
Advancement coordinator Drew Everett officially opened the Court of Honor.
In order to achieve the Eagle Award, a Scout must earn 21 merit badges, as 11 badges are required by the Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he must complete a service project.
Gruber said the fundamental principles of Scouting found in the oath and law are God and Country, Duty to Others, and Duty to Self.
The 12 points of the Scout law are to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Each was presented by a different Scout who explained the meaning.
All Eagle Scouts present Robert Keyser, Michael Sander, Jesse Schneck, Aleksander Everett, and Green from the troop, along with Heffley were recognized.
Semmel then escorted his parents, Mark and Paula Semmel, to the front of the room, at which time he pinned on them the Eagle father's pin and Eagle mother's pin, respectively.
James Schneck said the troop had the Scouts' names placed on their neckerchief so they would never forget their name or that they were Eagles. Schneck then placed the Eagle neckerchief on Semmel.
Semmel explained his Eagle Scout Service Project, in which he said he stained the pavilion and picnic benches at the Stoney Ridge P.A.R.C. in Lower Towamensing Township.
He received the materials, mostly in donation, from Shea's Hardware in Palmerton. The rest of the materials he purchased with funds he raised by helping the troop to make and sell chicken pot pie.
Over 100 man-hours were required to complete the project, which Semmel chose as a way to continue the work started by Green, a fellow Eagle Scout, who was responsible for the playground equipment at Stone Ridge and serves on the P.A.R.C. committee.
A 2012 graduate of Palmerton Area High School, Semmel is currently attending Gettysburg College, where he is dual majoring in history and computer science, with a minor in Civil War Studies. He plans to intern for the National Military Park Service in Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, Va.
He also plays football for the Gettysburg Bullets, and is a re-enactor with the 26th Pennsylvania Emergency Militia Regiment in Gettysburg.
James Schneck offered praise to Semmel, as well as the other Scouts in attendance who previously attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
"I'm proud to see them make it to Eagle," Schneck said. "You guys did a good job."
Semmel said he chose Rory Koons, fire chief/president of the Aquashicola Volunteer Fire Department, to receive his mentor pin. However, he said Koons could not be in attendance.
"He has been a big influence in my life," said Semmel, who is a volunteer firefighter with the department. "He's shown me a lot of things in my life."
Heffley then congratulated Semmel on his achievement, and said he can still remember with great fondness placing the pin on his mother and father years ago when he attained his Eagle Scout.
"It's something you'll remember your whole life," Heffley said. "It teaches lessons you'll carry with you for the rest of your life."
At that, Heffley presented Semmel with a citation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Jyneal Kamonka-Green, committee co-chair, then presented Semmel with a flag that was flown over the White House in honor of his achievement.
Troop member Colin Green then presented Semmel with a handcrafted trinket box designed to hold his awards and pins.
Afterward, Semmel thanked his parents for all of their support over the years.
"Thanks for organizing everything, and for doing so much for helping me through this," he said.
Afterward, food and refreshments were served.