Four generations committed to Boy Scouting

If only 5 percent of Boy Scouts ever reach the rank of Eagle Scout, imagine the odds on a family claiming four generations of Eagle Scouts. Fifteen-year-old Joseph A. Engelbrecht IV can.

Last month he joined his father, grandfather and great-grandfather in obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting.
Scoutmaster Duke Whitten presided over a Court of Honor Nov. 17 in the Patch Community Club as members of Boy Scout Troop 154 and several Eagle Scouts from the local area celebrated as Joe, with his father and grandfather at his side, donned the symbolic white neckerchief.

To achieve the rank, a Boy Scout must progress through the ranks, earn at least 21 merit badges in areas such as citizenship, communications, fitness, lifesaving, camping and first aid, serve in a troop leadership position, develop and complete a community service project, take part in a Scoutmaster conference and successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review. It was something Joe was destined for from the beginning — even before he was born — according to his mother.

“When I married my husband, I knew if we had a son, he’d be an Eagle Scout,” said Anna Engelbrecht. “I knew I was marrying into the tradition.” But Joe said he never felt pressured. Scouting was always something he wanted to do.

“I heard so many stories from my dad and grandpa, I knew I wanted to join. Scouting is like making knights out of young boys,” he said. Joe noted the long path to becoming an Eagle Scout wasn’t easy. His motivation wavered while his father was twice deployed to Iraq. “That was when I really slowed down,” he said.

That’s when his mother, sister and grandfather stepped in to help.
While attempting to earn a climbing merit badge, “There was this high wall where I kept slipping and falling,” said Joe. “I couldn’t seem to make it until my grandpa said, ‘Do it for your dad in Iraq.’”

Joe’s perseverance was no surprise to his grandfather. “I had the expectation that my grandson would become an Eagle Scout,” he said.