4th brother makes Eagle in Lake Forest
Charles Gallagher takes the Boy Scout Eagle Oath with the other Eagle Scouts during his Eagle ceremony at Lake Forest Academy on Dec. 29. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Scouting bottom line
For every 100 boys who join Scouting:
• 2 become Eagle Scouts
• 17 become future Scouting volunteers
• 12 have their first contact with a church, temple, synagogue or mosque through Scouting
• 1 enters the ministry
• 5 earn their faith’s religious award
• 18 develop a hobby that will last through their adult life
• 8 enter a vocation that was learned through the merit-badge program
• 1 uses his Scouting skills to save his own life
• 1 uses his Scouting skills to save the life of another person
Source: Boy Scouts of America
Updated: January 4, 2013 11:53AM
LAKE FOREST — Despite having three brothers before him reach the rank of Eagle Scout, it was not a foregone conclusion that Charles Gallagher would follow suit.
In fact, two years ago, Gallagher came close to ending the family tradition of earning the Boy Scouts’ highest honor.
“It got to the point that people expected me to get it,” said the 18-year-old Lake Bluff resident.
After some soul-searching and encouragement, Gallagher became the fourth member of his family to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. At a ceremony Saturday at Lake Forest Academy, Gallagher stood with 12 other Eagle Scouts, including his three brothers, reciting the Eagle Scout Oath.
“It wouldn’t feel right if I was not an Eagle Scout,” Gallagher said after the ceremony.
“It took a lot of time and hard work,” Gallagher said of earning the Boy Scouts of America’s highest rank. “I would not have gotten it without the support of my parents, brothers, sisters, adult leaders and fellow Scouts.”
For his Eagle Scout project, the Lake Bluff resident, who turned 18 on Monday, made seven sandwich board signs and a shelf for the Elawa Farm Foundation, a Lake Forest nature preservation organization that promotes education in architectural preservation, history, gardening and the environment.
Michael Fries, Scoutmaster and Eagle mentor for Boy Scout Troop 42 in Lake Bluff, has seen Charles Gallagher and his brothers climb the Scouting ranks.
“During my 10 years in the troop, there has always been a Gallagher boy,” Fries said. “They have been great over the many years.”
He said whether it was helping out while camping or at other events, the Gallagher boys were always there to help the troop.
Charles’ three brothers, Thomas, Richard and John, were all part of Charles’ Eagle Court of Honor program. Thomas was the master of ceremonies, Richard provided Scouting’s Code of Conduct and John gave the Eagle Charge.
With their last son reaching Scouting’s pinnacle, Charles’ parents, Rick and Debbie Gallagher, will be fazing out of Scouting after nearly 30 years. Saturday’s Eagle Scout program was an emotional moment for them.
“I am so proud of them,” Debbie Gallagher said of her four sons. “To have individuals dedicated to their country, their community and their family is rewarding. They embody the precepts of the Boy Scouts.”
John Gallagher labeled himself “the wisest brother” as he was picked to do the same thing, the Eagle Charge, for all three of his brothers’ Eagle Scout ceremonies.
He told Charles that as an Eagle Scout he is expected to live with honor, be loyal, be courageous, serve others and have a happy disposition.
“In looking through the long list of Eagle Scouts, there are presidents, astronauts, business leaders and sports legends. (The Eagle Scout qualities) are proven in all of them” John Gallagher said. “But the list also has a couple of bad apples who had a fall from grace.
“Let that be a constant reminder to be vigilant (in keeping the Eagle Scout qualities).”
Charles Gallagher picked his scoutmaster, Mike Fries, as the recipient of his Eagle Scout mentor pin.
“You have been an inspiration to me and all the other Scouts,” Gallagher told Fries.
Gallagher receiving his recognition at the end of 2012 had a little more significance as 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the first Eagle Scout achievement.
“I hope this is not the end of your Scouting travels,” Fries told Gallagher.
Gallagher, who is a senior and the all-school president at Lake Forest Academy, is not sure where he will go to school next fall. But his intentions include being part of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Officer Training.