TO "SOAR on eagle's wings" is the phrase Boy Scout Jeremy Sherfey used in the program he gave his guests Saturday at his Eagle Scout ceremony in a small building behind Calvary United Methodist Church in Gamber, where Troop 735 holds its meetings.
The room was decorated with the symbols of Scouting, and the names of previous Eagle Scouts were displayed in the front of the room. Only a small percentage of boys who enter Scouting achieve the designation of an Eagle.
Jeremy, 18, is one of three sons of Carl and Pam Sherfey, and the only Sherfey to have achieved the high honor, said his father, who was also a Boy Scout and enrolled all three sons in Scouting.
"It takes a lot of dedication and work to become an Eagle," Carl Sherfey said. "Jeremy is so dedicated that he has already decided to stay in Scouting and become an assistant troop leader."
Jeremy credited many people with his success during his Eagle Scout ceremony. Two people Jeremy thought deserved the most credit were his parents. He thanked his father for helping with projects and his mother for washing his clothes after camping trips and sewing patches.
Family and friends enjoyed his lighthearted comments, and the presentation of a certificate he created on his computer for his parents.
Jeremy also gave his parents a gift certificate for dinner out so they could spend an evening "without him." Through all the joking, the dedication of his family that took him to that moment was unmistakeable.
Initially, Jeremy wanted his Eagle project to coincide with a project his mother, a fourth-grade teacher at Linton Springs Elementary School, was working on with her pupils. He wanted to create a pond on school property for pupils to use during environmental studies.
But his mother's projects took a turn, and she decided to restore the wetlands that had once existed on school property. She also involved the pupils in the creation of a nature trail, and the creation of a winter garden for a wildlife haven. The projects took two years to complete.
Jeremy became involved in the projects and said he became her right-hand man. He decided his Eagle project would be building a sturdy bridge to connect the wetland area with the trail.
William Brill, Jeremy's grandfather, assisted and advised Jeremy on building the bridge. Jeremy said the bridge was constructed in the back yard and moved in pieces to the site, where it was put together.
In thanking his grandfather during the ceremony, Jeremy referred to Brill as the master builder on the project, and himself as the apprentice.
He said his grandfather would push him to complete the project by saying, "Make it happen."
Brill was touched when Jeremy presented him with a framed award titled Master Builder, Eagle Project 2002 "Make it Happen," which contained photographs of the two completing the project and a depiction of an Eagle award.
The ceremony included participation from fellow Scouts noting important traits of a good Scout, such as trustworthiness, loyalty and cooperation.
Jeremy honored several other people during the ceremony, including his girlfriend, Suzy Hull, Shelley Bailey, Robert Shoemaker and Margaret Ann Hoff. The latter three are members of his church.
He concluded the ceremony by saying, "If I have gotten one thing out of Scouting, it has been to always do your best and give 100 percent all of the time. If you do your best, you will never fail, because you will never give less than the best you have to offer."
On Saturday, fire companies around the state held a boot drive to collect money for a memorial to honor the more than 325 men and women of career and volunteer fire, emergency medical and rescue services who have given their lives in the line of duty since the 1840s.
Chief Ronald Green of Gamber and Community Fire Company said the fund needs to raise $650,000 to build the memorial.
The memorial design will incorporate a sculpture and a semicircular brick wall with bronze plaques depicting the names of those who died protecting others.
The memorial site is at Rowe Boulevard and Calvert and Bladen streets in Annapolis. Green said the deadline for the fund-raiser is close.
Members of Gamber and Community Fire Company collected money in boots at Route 32 and 91 until about 3:30 p.m.
Green said they raised nearly $3,000, and he was hopeful the goal would be reached.
The final count probably will take a few weeks to complete.
Debra Taylor Young's neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.