PROVO — When Boy Scout Troop 192 hailed its 100th Eagle Scout in a recent Deseret Morning News story, unsung Eagles flocked to the forefront.
While the troop never claimed to be the first to reach the century mark — except in Provo, a claim that so far has gone unchallenged locally — troops outside the Utah National Parks Council have been quick to say that they, too, have reached or exceeded the 100 mark for Scouting's highest rank.
National Boy Scout spokesman Greg Shields says the national organization doesn't keep a tally of troop achievements. Thus, he has never heard of any troop achieving the century mark in Eagles.
While the 100th Eagle may be a wing-spreading achievement for Troop 192, a spokesman for the Utah National Parks Council, with 60,437 Scouts, noted that like national, the council does not track Eagle awards by troop, so it may have other troops that have hit that mark.
"We just don't know," said Scout Executive Tom Powell.
Several troops in the Great Salt Lake Council achieved their 100th Eagle years ago, Deseret Morning News readers say.
A Kansas City troop awarded its 500th Eagle in 1996. Troop 301 awarded its first Eagle in 1931 when it was Troop 1, according to the May-June issue of Scouting magazine. The troop, sponsored by the Hutchinson First Presbyterian Church, is now working on its second group of 500 Eagles. Troop 26 in Tulsa, Okla., has also surpassed the 500 mark.
Scores of troops have more than 100 Eagles with many topping 300, a reader wrote in one of several e-mails the Deseret Morning News received after running the story on Troop 192.
"Scouting has been around for 95 years. It's hard to get a national record. Troop 192 can't even be the first in Utah at this late date," Jim Lansbarkis wrote.
Former Bountiful Scoutmaster Don Gubler acknowledged the Provo troop's achievement but added, "it is hardly a record of any sort. I was the Scoutmaster of Troop 762 in Bountiful, which was formed in 1967 and honored its 100th Eagle Scout more than 10 years ago. We had one year in which 23 boys received the award," he wrote.
Getting the Eagle badge was more the norm than the exception, he said.
Gubler can tick off several other Utah troops that have exceeded 100 Eagles.
"In Troop 762 we held a Court of Honor in which 17 Eagle Awards were presented at once. We thought that was a record but of course were unable to verify it," he said. "I have heard since of others with as few as 12 claiming the same record. There is just no reliable record of these sorts of things and little publicity for them."
While the Boy Scout organization as a whole fails to track its Eagles by troop, Alden Higgs does. Now 78 and admittedly a bit slower than the Boy Scouts he once tutored in Bountiful's Troop 732, he keeps track of the Eagle awards. It reached its 110th in November 2003 and will get its 111th "very soon." The first Eagle badge in that troop was handed out in 1969, he said.
"I would dare say that the Great Salt Lake Council probably has the most Eagle Scouts than any council in the world," he said.
Are you listening, Kansas City?