Meet the American Spirit Award finalists: Day 3 of 4


By now, you should know all about the American Spirit Award, an honor given to "one or more individuals who demonstrate extraordinary skill, professionalism, and a spirit of excellence in a challenging situation."

We're halfway through introducing you to the four young men that Boys' Life editors selected as finalists for this award. You've already met T.J. Ellwein and Brad Garr

At the end of the week, you can decide which young man best embodies the spirit of the American Spirit Award and cast your vote. Voting is open now and closes on Feb. 11.

Today, it's Jacob Netzel's turn in the spotlight. Jacob, from the Raleigh, N.C.-based Occoneechee Council, spent four years raising money to create a memorial for fallen soldiers. 

Read more after the jump.

Meet Jacob Netzel

  • Learn about the special dedication ceremony at the memorial Jacob helped construct in The Fayetteville Observer.
  • Read about what Jacob's Memorial Walk meant to the men and women of the military in Paraglide, the Fort Bragg newspaper.
  • Read the Boys' Life summary below:

Jacob, a 17-year-old Eagle Scout from Troop 40 in Fayetteville, N.C., knew his Eagle project could take a long, long time.

But nothing could stop Jacob, who spent four years raising $40,000 and then constructed a memorial for fallen soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces Group headquartered at nearby Fort Bragg. “I was very optimistic in the beginning,” Jacob says. “Then I got discouraged when the cash was coming in slow. But it never failed: If we had a slow month, we’d get a big donation from somebody and things would pick up.”

In addition to the fund raising, Jacob had to get approval from seemingly everyone in the U.S. military, including the Secretary of the Army and the three-star general and commander of the installation where the memorial would be built.

The end result was 28 headstones honoring the memory of 3rd Special Forces Group soldiers killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

Jacob says he hopes to someday become an engineer.


Schedule of posts about the American Spirit Award:

MondayWe told you about the award itself.

TuesdayYou met T.J. Ellwein of the Baltimore Area Council.

Wednesday: You met Brad Garr of the Grand Canyon Council.

Today: You just met Jacob Netzel of the Occoneechee Council.

Tomorrow: You'll meet Jack Pape of the Mid-America Council.

About Bryan Wendell 3282 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.