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Scout Troop 939 Gains Eagle Scout

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Local Boy Scout Troop 939 gained its 7th Eagle Scout on March 26, as Jerry Adell Smith, Jr., was officially awarded the honor at a ceremony at South Thompson Baptist Church. Smith has been a member of the Boy Scouts of America since his transition from Cub Scout to Boy Scout on July 10, 2015. He quickly rose in rank, becoming a Tenderfoot and Second Class rank on January 27, 2016, and transitioning to First Class status in July 20, 2016. It took Smith two years to become a Star Scout, which he accomplished on September 24, 2018, followed by his rise to Life Scout on September 23, 2019. Finally, Smith passed all the requirements needed to become an Eagle Scout on December 6, 2021. “Being an Eagle Scout means hard work and putting forth more effort than most can,” Smith commented on his new rank. “Being an Eagle Scout means endurance. It means pushing forward when things are hard and doing what you have to do.” According to Smith, this sense of endurance and hard work was truly tested during his completion of his Eagle Project, which was building a durable gazebo for the South Thompson Baptist Church. “I wanted to give back to my family. South Thompson Baptist Church was built by my family, I believe it was my greatgrandfather who ended up building this place, and much of my family is buried in this church’s cemetery,” he remarked. “If anything, I wanted to do what was right by my family and to give back to my community, and this seemed like the perfect way to do that.”

This seemingly perfect project posed many challenges, including digging the holes for posts that held the gazebo. “I really did not think he was going to be able to finish,” Smith’s mother, April Bradford, stated. “The boys were out here digging the holes by hand and it seemed neverending. Luckily, Jerry’s uncle was able to come to the rescue with the necessary tools and really help to get this project completed.”

Smith said, “I have to thank my mom and uncle. If it was not for my Uncle Brandon [Thompson Salter], I probably would not have what I have here as far as my project, and I am grateful for my mother pushing me as far as she has.” Smith expressed gratitude to all who supported and donated to the project, including Clint Williams of Advance Fabrications, Handy Andy of Vidalia, Subway of Lyons, Chatters of Lyons, Lowe’s of Vidalia, Frank Smith Attorney At Law, Tina Maddox, and Assistant Scoutmaster Wynn Tippett. Eagle Scout Ceremony

Smith was pinned with the Eagle Scout badge by his longtime Scoutmaster, Kim Stephens, who reflected on his time with the Scout. “Jerry is definitely one of a kind,” Stephens told attendees. “I’ve always said that anyone who loves to read is set for the world because of all they will learn. That’s Jerry. He enjoys reading and reads often, which makes him knowledgeable about many things, which he voluntarily shares with everyone around him.”

Stephens reminisced about conversations with Smith during travel and camping. “I have no doubt that Jerry will succeed in whatever he does in his life, and I am very proud of him,” he concluded. Assistant Scoutmaster Tippett also spoke about his experiences with Smith within the Boy Scout troop, reassuring, “Jerry is not the type of guy that you forget. I will always remember him.” Boy Scouts of America Twin Rivers District Executive and fellow Eagle Scout Logan Crosby delivered the Charge to the Eagle, encouraging Smith to do his best to do his duty to God and his country.” State Representative Leesa Hagan (R-Lyons) also addressed the new Eagle Scout by presenting him with a letter of congratulations from the Georgia House of Representatives.

Smith’s mother presented plaques to recognize those who helped her son reach this Eagle Scout status. “Without you all, Jerry never could have made it to become an Eagle Scout. You have helped transport and guide him, and you have supported us both through these efforts,” she commented as Regina O’Neil, Alicia Campbell, Louise Thompson, and Smith’s Scout leaders accepted the awards.

“I am so proud of Jerry, and all that he has accomplished,” Bradford added after presenting the awards. “He has continued the reputation of greatness in our family.”

Smith’s great aunt, Louise Thompson, also spoke on behalf of the family about his accomplishment. “You have achieved this honor through the same dedication and hard work that your family has always been known for,” she said. “Now, I challenge you to help your own son become an Eagle Scout one day.”

Having achieved the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouts, Smith joins a select few within the nation, as only 1 Scout in every 8 Boy Scout troops is promoted to this rank.

EAGLE PROJECT — It took the work of all members of Troop 939, as well as many who donated supplies and time, to complete Smith’s Eagle Project by the deadline. Here, Smith poses with his Troop and the gazebo.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

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