Eagle Scout Project: Spencer Lourance builds retired flag drop box
According to senior Spencer Lourance, he has been in the scouts “a lot of years.” He began Cub Scouts in first grade, so he’s been active with the scouts for about 12 years.
Spencer is the son of army veteran Chris and Angie Lourance. His grandparents are Avis and the late Chester Gale Lourance from Poplar Bluff, Mo., and the late Rick McClain, and Deb and Mike Soyland of Sabetha.
Spencer’s parents agreed that it takes sincere commitment to attain Eagle Scout Rank.
“Being awarded the Eagle Scout Rank is a true test of perseverance, and requires a genuine commitment from both the Scout and his family,” Chris and Angie said.
Spencer is grateful for the support he received from his family and other scouts who pushed him to not give up.
“There were a lot of times over the years that either my parents or I would say, ‘forget this, I’m done,’ usually because I didn’t want to go to a meeting or a merit badge class. But then my mom or dad would usually say I have come so far and only have a few more badges, so I stuck with it,” Spencer said. “So, it does require a big commitment and a lot of help from your family and other scouts too.”
Spencer’s mom sewed his badges on and helped with paperwork, so perhaps she deserves a merit badge or two as well.
“My mom hand-sewed the badges on my sash and hollered a lot as she poked herself with the needle many times — which was kinda funny,” Spencer said. “And paperwork, man there was a lot of paperwork, but I will say, my mom did help me out with some of that. Otherwise, I don’t know if I would have got it all done.”
Spencer decided that his Eagle Scout Project would be a retired flag drop box, because it was something he wanted to give to the community that would be helpful.
“My Eagle Scout project is a retired flag drop box that is setting just north of the VFW on Washington Street. Anyone can stop and place their flags in the box, just like you are dropping off the mail,” Spencer said. “I was just trying to do something that would help the community and I think it has. We’ve taken a lot of flags out of the box already, we have received U.S. Marine Flags, U.S. Army, Kansas Flags and many American Flags so far. The VFW will be storing some flags and there are some stored in the Scout room. Then, at least once a year — usually at Albany Days — Troop No. 77 has a flag retirement ceremony.”
Sabetha VFW Post Commander Marcus Gonzales explains the reasoning behind a flag retirement ceremony.
“Once the flag is no longer fit to fly, they need to be disposed of in a dignified and respectful manner. Otherwise, people would just throw them in the trash,” Gonzales said. “In Sabetha, the Boy Scouts hold the retirement ceremonies, and it is a way to teach the scouts respect for their Country and its Flag.”
To begin Spencer’s project, he had to prepare the location for the drop box, and he was fortunate to have several volunteers helping him.
“I first talked to Bart White about the location for the box since it is setting on the United Bank property,” Spencer said. “There was a tree in the location, which Gudenkauf Tree Service removed. Jeremy Grimm then had to use a concrete saw to cut around the stump so that could be removed, and then we poured new concrete to have a level area for the box. Midwest Ready Mix donated the concrete.”
Next was designing and building the box. Spencer is so thankful for all the donations from local businesses.
“CW Mill donated the metal for the box, and then my dad and I got to work. It took some time, only being able to work on it a little while here and there, but we finally got it done,” Spencer said. “Trifecta powder coated the box. Holthaus Autohaus paid for the powder coat material, and then I got some hardware to install the box from Edelman’s. Custom Life Co. then donated and applied the vinyl decals. I was very fortunate that everyone was so generous in donating materials and their time.”
The retired flag drop box was completed and set in place in September of 2022.
Badges and Qualifications
Eagle Scout rank became a goal for Spencer when he was in middle school.
“The older I got, the busier I seemed to get, so it’s a good thing I started early,” Spencer said.
To achieve Eagle Scout status, there are several qualifications to meet.
“You must have several service hours, which I completed most of those hours putting out flags on different holidays with the Kiwanis Club and other projects with our troop,” Spencer said. “You have to have at least 21 merit badges. Fourteen of those badges must be required badges. I think I ended up with 32 badges.
Several of the badges you might be able to complete at a merit badge conference. I went to several at Washburn and Washburn Tech in Topeka. They are usually all day classes, and a lot of the badges you need to finish at home. After all of the requirements of each badge are met, you meet with a merit badge counselor or the scoutmaster for some. My Eagle Scout application was approved on Oct. 18, and then my Board of Review was in November. Then, the paperwork goes to a National Scout office in Texas.”
Lessons and memories
There are many life lessons and good times that Spencer will always cherish from his time spent being a scout.
“In the beginning, you do a lot of fun things like the Pinewood Derby’s, Cake bakes and auctions. I have been on so many fun trips to Colorado, Minnesota, and New Mexico for two weeks a couple summers ago. I have been to many places and have done a lot of things that I may not have been able to do. I have camped out a lot, and that was fun with food challenges between the different patrols/age groups. Several Klondike adventures and campouts when it was freezing cold, but overall, I think I learned a lot of real life skills,” Spencer said.
One particular memory Spencer shares was when he and fellow Eagle Scout Jacob Garber met with a merit badge counselor.
“The last merit badge counselor I met with Jacob Garber, was a guy from Kansas City earlier this year, we met in Topeka at a sushi restaurant, the counselor never wears shoes even in the winter and we’ve seen him for years at different Merit Badge days.
Finally, Spencer encourages other boy scouts who are working towards earning their Eagle Scout badge to be persistent.
“Keep working through it and eventually you will get there,” Spencer said. “Don’t procrastinate and get your required badges done as soon as possible.”