Troop 501 Eagle Scouts

Andrew Jackson - 2011

Project: Recycle Bins at the World Bird Sanctuary

William "Billy" John Fisher, III - 2012

Project: Fire Truck Reading Center at Arnold Branch Library

Christopher "Blake" Hufford - 2013

Project: Flag Pole Installation and Beautification Project at New Hope United Methodist Church

Paul Morton Claeys - 2013

Project: Playground Renovation and Update; Construction and Installation of Benches at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Drew Vitello - 2014

Project: Development and Installation of interactive, 3-D, educational playground mural at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Remembering Gerald R. Ford, Our Only Eagle Scout President (so far)


Posted on February 16, 2015 by , Editor, Scouting Magazine 2034f8eac304c4bcf6b31f3a8fcbfbb4

On Presidents Day, let’s remember Gerald R. Ford, our 38th president and, at least so far, the only Eagle Scout to ascend to the most powerful post in the country.

Ford, who earned the Eagle Scout award in 1927 as a member of Troop 15 in Grand Rapids, Mich., went on to receive the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1970.

In December 1974, while president of the U.S., Ford spoke at the Boy Scouts’ Annual Awards Dinner. That’s where he offered this gem of a quote:

It has recently been said that I am too much of a Boy Scout in the way I have conducted myself as President, and so I reviewed the Boy Scout laws and Boy Scout oath.

They say that a Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. That is not bad for somebody who knew it 46 years ago.

And the Boy Scout oath is, “On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout laws, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”

Well, if these are not the goals of the people of the United States, what they want their President to live up to, then I must draw this conclusion: Either you have the wrong man or I have the wrong country, and I don’t believe either is so.

When Ford died in December 2006, his family requested an honor guard of 200 Eagle Scouts. They knew how important Scouting was to the man throughout his life.

In fact, 400 Eagle Scouts — age 15 to 85 — showed up to line the road to his presidential museum in Grand Rapids.

A fitting memorial to the man who once said, “One of the proudest moments of my life came in the court of honor when I was awarded the Eagle Scout badge. I still have that badge. It is a treasured possession.”



President Ford’s legacy continues with the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $13.5 billion, 1,106-foot aircraft carrier set to join the U.S. Navy’s fleet in 2016.

Last month, the ship’s crew released the Gerald Ford‘s official crest.

It features 38 stars, representing Ford’s tenure as our 38th president. The colors include blue and maize, honoring his undergraduate alma mater, the University of Michigan. But it’s the fluer-de-lis at the top of the compass that really caught my eye.

The fleur-de-lis, of course, shows off Ford’s achievements as a Boy Scout, and its northern position on the compass says a lot about how much Ford’s life direction was positively shaped by his time in Scouting.

Here’s the crest:uss-ford-crest

Paying tribute to Distinguished Eagle Scout, President Gerald Ford

“I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it … I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our government, but civilization itself.”

—President Gerald R. Ford (1913–2006)

Scouting Affiliation

Eagle Scout Governor's Honor Guard on Mckinac Island—President Ford Holding the flag
Eagle Scout Governor’s Honor
Guard on Mckinac Island
—President Ford Holding the flag

Beginning in 1924, Scouting played an important role in Ford’s life. At the age of 12, he joined Troop 15, sponsored by the Trinity United Methodist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He earned his Eagle Scout badge with Bronze and Gold Palms in 1928. He also participated in the Eagle Scout Governor’s Honor Guard on Mackinac Island.  In 1970, Ford received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award from the Grand Valley Council (now known as the President Gerald R. Ford Council), and later he received the Silver Buffalo Award.

Duty to Country

Lieutenant Commander Gerald R. Ford, Jr. 1945



Ford earned a bachelor of arts in economics in 1935 from the University of Michigan and his law degree from Yale University in 1941. He actively served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and served in the reserves until 1963. He received several medals and awards including:

  • American Campaign Medal
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver star and four bronze stars
  • Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars

After World War II, Ford returned to Grand Rapids and became involved in civic affairs.

Ford married Elizabeth (Betty) Bloomer Warren on Oct. 15, 1948. They had four children together—Michael Gerald, John (Jack) Gardner, Steven Meigs, and Susan Elizabeth.

In 1948, he was elected as U.S. Representative for the fifth congressional district, and he continued to serve for 13 terms. After he was elected to his ninth term as congressman on Jan. 4, 1965, Ford became the House minority leader. That selection set the stage for his appointment to the vice presidency.

After Vice President Agnew resigned in 1973, President Nixon chose Ford as his vice president, making Ford the first to be appointed according to provisions of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution.  On Aug. 9, 1974, Ford became the 38th U.S. president after Nixon resigned.

Legacy of Healing

President Ford—1974
President Ford—1974

As president, Ford guided America through a difficult period when both Vice President Spiro Agnew and President Richard Nixon left their offices.

Undoubtedly relying on his experience as an Eagle Scout and the Scout Oath and Scout Law, Ford brought service and integrity back to the White House.  His full pardon of Nixon, though unpopular, was an attempt to unify the polarized, partisan country and set the nation back on the road to recovery.

President Ford passed away on Dec. 26, 2006, in California. Hundreds of Scouts participated in his funeral, and a few Scouts were selected to serve as ushers at the Washington National Cathedral.


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