Family tradition of the Eagle Scouts

The 99th Eagle Scout of Pomaria Troop 76, Harmon Vinson.

Nancy Shirley | For the Newberry Watcher

POMARIA – Harmon Vinson became the 99th Eagle Scout for Boy Scout Troop 76 this month, continuing a family tradition that dates back to the first Eagle Scout for Troop 76.

Vinson’s grandfather (Harry Harmon) was the very first Eagle Scout of Troop 76, and his uncle (Benji Harmon) was the 50th. Vinson carried on the tradition by becoming the 99th.

“I joined the Boy Scouts in grade five (2014), I went from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts at that time. I joined the Cubs in first year, ”said Vinson.

To become an Eagle Scout, Vinson said there is a lot of work to be done. He said there were service projects, earning merit badges, attending a number of camping nights, getting miles of hiking.

In total, Vinson earned 29 merit badges – 13 badges were needed to earn Eagle Scout, the rest are optional. He said the hardest badge he got was the Emergency Preparedness badge.

“This is the last one I received. There were certain requirements that I had to meet, like bring in a firefighter and talk and there were a lot of other things you had to do, ”he said.

Vinson said his favorite badge was the swimming badge because he loves to swim, and his most unique badge was the chess badge.

Vinson chose as a service project to build, maintain and organize five lending libraries in the Pomaria community for children.

“My mom is a librarian, her manager saw the idea online and she thought it would be unique and she came and brought the idea to me, and I was like, ‘oh yeah, that’s an idea wonderful, “said Vinson.” My dad and I ended up framing the houses and the next day the troop came and put the sides up and then covered them with shingles. A few months later on Remembrance Day (this year), we went out with hole diggers, dug holes and set up the lending libraries.

Vinson’s mother Christi added that the Newberry Arts Center used their summer art camps to paint each of the libraries. Each week a new generation of campers helped paint and design the lending libraries.

“Then, to supply the lending libraries, we organized a BOGO book fair at the Pomaria-Garmany primary school. The students chose a book to take home and also a book to give to the lending library. Harmon printed labels, and when a book was donated, this kid wrote their name on the label inside the book, ”she said.

Harmon Vinson said the libraries have been a big success in Pomaria. He even said that some people would bring him boxes of books to fill the libraries. Christi Vinson added that the companies also donated, which allowed them to buy even more books.

“The most unique thing about lending libraries, we found a note in one of them, someone from Minnesota brought home to show the different cultures from different states,” Harmon Vinson said.

Becoming an Eagle Scout means “high time” according to Vinson. He said this opened up several opportunities.

“Most of the scholarships I have received and entry to Clemson Honors College, the Eagle Scout and the Eagle Scout Project – give this the primary credit for my success,” he said.

During his ceremony at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church – where it was Boy Scout Sunday for Troop 76 – not only was Vinson announced as the 99th Eagle Scout, but his parents were each given a pin and he was able to give his uncle a mentor pin.

“I picked my uncle (Benji Harmon), I looked forward to (this moment) the most, giving him the pin,” Vinson said.

As a bonus, Christi Vinson said they took pieces of memorabilia from three generations of Boy Scouts and created pillows. The pillows represented the support to the community of his father, brother and son, as well as the Master Scout and Assistant Master Scout.

“I gave one to the Boy Scout Master, the Boy Scout Assistant, Harmon, my mom got a pillow in memory of my dad and then my brother,” said Christi Vinson.

Senator Ronnie Cromer, Rep. Rick Martin and Sheriff Lee Foster also presented certificates to Harmon Vinson for his accomplishments.

Contact Andrew Wigger at 803-768-3122 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.

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