“The Eagle Scout Service Project is the opportunity for a Scout to demonstrate organization of the project and materials, including costs and hours that it will take to complete. He must show leadership of others who will work on the project while performing this project for the benefit of his community,” said Assistant Scoutmaster Luis De La Garza.

This year, due to COVID-19, completing the Eagle Scout process was more difficult. Despite the pandemic, Trent De La Garza and Cade Quirey, both of Troop 361, worked diligently throughout the year to achieve their Eagle Scout awards.

“It is very detailed because of the process, and yes, it is hard; however, it is necessary in order to complete the (Eagle Scout) project in the correct order, submitting paperwork along the way before it’s submitted to Council then to National,” said Luis. “There are Eagle guidelines and procedures that must be followed, so it is important to follow along and mentor the candidate until it is completed and the appropriate paperwork is submitted, and they must also go in front of an Eagle Board of Review and be approved before being complete. Commissioner Reese and Judge Hernandez sat on these boards along with District Council representative Ralph Belter.”

Eighteen-year-old Cade has been in Scouts for six years. His project was to build a shaded pergola on North Ocean Drive in Magnolia Beach.

“This project took us about three months to complete. All of that includes planning the project, having meetings to see what we could do, buying the supplies, and finally building it,” said Cade. “The hardest parts were just making sure the timing was right. When we actually started the build of the pergola, we were able to knock it out in just a few days.”

Cade said he had help from many people. From Calhoun County Commissioners to family and friends, “I chose this project to help out the community. I know it’s just a shaded area, but I think people can spend time there together and enjoy it. I’ve had many people congratulate me for achieving the Eagle Scout rank.”

Cade plans on attending college but is undecided about his major. He will begin with the basics.

Eagle Scout Trent De La Garza was 17 at the time he completed his Eagle Scout project. He has been a Scout since he was in the first grade.

“My Eagle Scout Project was to install plexiglass barriers on the elementary school desks at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic School in Port Lavaca,” said Trent. “The difficulty of the project was not very hard, but it was very time-consuming. It also involved a lot of different connections between the school principal, myself, and the troop leader, and the company supplying the Plexiglas.

From the start of planning in May of 2020 through the completion of the project in July 2020, it took three months to complete. Trent said the actual physical work of the project took a total of 18 hours over three days.

“During the three days of physical labor, there were 18 people who came to work,” he said. “The project was completed on July 15, 2020. I felt like this project was classrooms in a safe way during the pandemic. During the spring semester of online classes, I found it very difficult to learn, so I figured maybe these students at my previous school were also having issues with learning from home. By doing this project, it would allow the students to get back into the classrooms to learn in a safe environment on campus.”

An OLG staff member reported that many of the families were thankful to be able to send their children back to school at the beginning of the school year.

“As of mid-November, since the start of school, there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 reported on the OLG campus,” Trent said.” So I guess you could say the Plexiglas barriers on the desks, along with the other safety protocols put in place by the school, are working.”

Trent said that there is no higher rank that he can achieve. However, he will remain involved with Scouts as a troop leader. “Because Scouts has played such a vital role in my own life, if and when I have children, I hope to get them involved in Scouts.”

Luis expressed how proud he is of both Scouts.

“It was much more difficult to get people to help because of the pandemic,” said Luis. “Cade’s project was at the beginning of the COVID-19, and he had an extremely hard time getting volunteers to come out and help,” said Luis. “And while Trent’s project was performed just before school started, he had a lot more help from volunteers. It did take a little longer to finish the projects, but with the help of the scout leaders and family, it was all completed as they planned.”

“Cade is a great kid. He is quiet, honorable, and very intelligent. He worked very hard on his project,” said Luis. “As for Trent, he is my grandson and a wonderful young man who is kind and respectful. He worked hard on his project also with no short cuts or special favors from grandpa,” he said. “It is a feeling of pride that fills my heart when I think of them. The time I gave to them was worth every minute. I am very happy for them even though they may not understand the benefits of what it means to be an Eagle Scout at this time in their life. I personally know that each one will be good citizens that will serve their communities by giving back in time and funds.”

Luis added that in 2019 there were 152 million young men in the United States, of which 2.3 million were Scouts, and only 46,000 would become Eagle Scouts. Today with COVID-19, they are hoping for around 20,000 this year.

“We in Port Lavaca have two so far this year, and we are working hard for a third by the end of the year,” he said.

Luis has been involved in Scouts for more than 20 years, first as a Scout, Cub Scout, Den Leader, and now Assistant Scoutmaster. He has assisted 10 young men in receiving the honor of Eagle Scout.