WHITMAN — Sometimes it helps to be able to laugh at yourself, or at least at the problems life puts in your way.
Whitman’s newest Eagle Scout Danny Kenn of Troop 22 evidently has that ability, and it came in handy as he provided the leadership, planning and fundraising needed to complete his Eagle project, the demolition and removal of an old utility shed at Colebrook Cemetery as well as the construction of a new shed.
One such joke gift was a white plastic megaphone with “Foreman in-Chief” written on it for his grandfather.
“For anyone who was at my project, you would have heard him,” Kenn said. “He’s very vocal about his opinions and how things should be done.”
Kenn also admitted to some humorous miscalculations in the project, in giving a pair of metal saw horses — to replace the ones he sawed through — to his dad, inscribed “You supported me” and “When I needed it most.”
“You can have the ones you sawed through,” his dad James Kenn Jr., said.
In addition to a bouquet of flowers, he presented his mother Tracey with a framed photo — a close-up of their clasped hands with the inscription: “Behind every great Eagle Scout is a great mom.”
Such sentiments of the inspiration provided by family and friends, and attainment of leadership goals, were the real themes of the day.
“Long trip, huh?” Eagle Project Committee Chairman Geoff Youngman said to Kenn, noting he wasn’t sure if COVID disruptions wouldn’t interfere in completion of the project. “Success in this effort will become evident in the way this Eagle Scout will set a social pattern for all the lives he may touch.”
Scoutmaster Shawn McCollem stressed the responsibility of achieving Eagle rank.
“This is a great undertaking,” he said before administering the Eagle Scout oath to Kenn. “As you live up to your obligations, you being honor to yourself and to your brother Scouts. If you fail you bring down the good name of all true and worthy Scouts.”
His mother Tracey and father Jim Kenn Jr., pinned on his Eagle badge and he, in turn presented pins to his parents and grandparents, as well as mentors’ pins to those people he selected to honor for the advice and inspiration through his Eagle project work, including one for his father.
Kenn earned the 21 Merit Badges, 13 required, that are needed to attain Eagle Scout rank.
His Eagle Court of Honor — divided in two, with the ceremony at The Spellman Center of Holy Ghost Church and a collation at the Knights of Columbus, because of COVID restrictions — was also filled with humor in the form of good-natured ribbing and gag gifts to his family and friends.
“America has many good things to give you and your children after you, but these good things depend on qualities instilled in her citizens,” McCollem said. “She has a great past and you are here to make her future greater.”
Senior Patrol Leaders Scott Brodie and Samantha Kenn served as masters of ceremonies for the event.
Troop 22 Scouts participated in the ceremony with Brodie and Samantha Kenn lighting the candles that symbolize the three facets of Scouting that Scouts pledge themselves to — duty to: God and country, to others an to self — and the 12 points of the Scout Law. Members of the Troop also described the rank advancements and how Kenn personified them through his Eagle project.
Among the honors he received in recognition of the Eagle rank were: a congratulatory letter from former President George W. Bush; a proclamation and designation of Saturday, July 17 as Danny Kenn Day in Whitman; and a Good Citizen Citation from American Legion Post 22.
Warner spoke of Kenn’s propensity for taking time to decide to take on a leadership role and how he excelled at leading once he made up his mind.
“Sometimes that’s what it takes,” he said before presenting Kenn with a Native American possible bag as a gift. “It’s just something that gets you to that point. … Something clicks and you say, ‘This, I can do,’ When you make that decision — not parents, not friends, not your boss — that’s when the magic happens.”