Family 'hat trick' Michael Gurcsik continues Hometown clan's deep commitment in scouting
LIZ PINKEY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Michael Gurcsik (center, front) achieved the rank of Eagle Scout during a Court of Honor held at St. John's UCC in Tamaqua. On hand were his family members, mother Mary (left, front) and father John (right, front), (back, left to right) Scoutmaster Scott Winterburn, and brothers Jay and Jimi, who are also Eagle Scouts.
Michael Gurcsik of Hometown, who comes from a family deeply committed to scouting, recently attained the rank of Eagle Scout.
Gurcsik joins his older brothers John (Jay) and James (Jimi) in attaining one of scouting's highest honors, making their family the most recent in the Tamaqua area to have three brothers achieve this honor, or as Jay put it, "the family hat trick."
The Jones brothers, Matt, Adam, and Alex also recently accomplished this feat.
"We've always been a scouting family," said his mother, Mary. "Scouting is important to me. I've always believed in scouting, and they had a lot to live up to. Scouting values are something I've wanted to instill in my children since they were small."
The family's daughter, Eileen, also obtained the Girl Scout Silver Award.
Brother Jay said that his experiences in scouting and in earning his Eagle Scout award have taught him what to expect in "the real world."
"It's all just about not giving up," he said.
He also added that his brother should cherish this moment, as he prepares for his future.
"It's an uphill battle after this," he said.
Michael has been a member of the Boy Scouts since joining as a Tiger Cub. One of his first scoutmasters, State Sen. David Argall, presented Gurcsik with a citation from the State Senate and the House, on behalf of Rep. Jerry Knowles.
"He's just a great kid. We knew this was going to happen from the start," Argall said, referring to the Eagle Scout award. "He has such a supportive family, and that's a very important part of the equation."
Argall also complimented him on being able to balance scouting with many other extracurricular activities.
"He is a testament that you can do scouts and a lot of other stuff," he said.
Gurcsik also carried on his brothers' dedication to improving the East End Park in Tamaqua as his final project. Michael's contribution was the construction of spectator benches for the basketball court and the completion of a pedestrian pathway.
"Hopefully, this will help bring the spectators out to watch the teams play," he said. "It's a very busy park and hopefully, people will get a lot of use out of it."
Gurcsik said that the most important thing he has learned in his scouting journey is placing other people over himself.
Gurcsik chose to recognize Slate Altenberg for his support and mentoring as he worked towards earning the Eagle rank. Altenberg said that Gurcsik is "why Scouting will live another 100 years."
"He's absolute fun to be with. He's always ready for an adventure and he tackles everything with enthusiasm," said Altenberg.
Gurcsik also received citations from Tamaqua Mayor Christian Morrison, on behalf of the Borough of Tamaqua and the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. His Court of Honor was held at St. John's UCC Church and followed by a reception for family and friends.