It happened a few minutes after 7 p.m. on March 14.
Inside Room 126 of the Peachtree City (Ga.) United Methodist Church, Preston A. passed his board of review and became an Eagle Scout.
The moment wasn’t just monumental for Preston and his family. It was also historic for Ute Whatley, the Eagle Scout Coordinator in Preston’s district (the Fayette District of the Griffin, Ga.-based Flint River Council).
Preston was the 1,000th young man to become an Eagle Scout under Whatley’s mentorship.
You read that right. Whatley has helped a thousand young men become Eagle Scouts.
The BSA doesn’t compile data about district Eagle board coordinators, so we can’t know whether Whatley holds any sort of national records. But if there were an Eagle Board Coordinator Hall of Fame, Whatley would certainly be a member.
Best part is, she isn’t planning to stop any time soon.
13 years and counting
Whatley became her district’s Eagle Scout Coordinator in January 2004. The Eagle Scout Coordinator is a volunteer who handles the behind-the-scenes work required to help a young man along the journey to Boy Scouting’s highest honor.
Whatley didn’t know then — couldn’t have, really — that she’d still hold that position more than 13 years later.
Think of the passion it takes to mentor one Eagle candidate, let alone 1,000.
At least three adults must sit on each Eagle board, and the Fayette District schedules roughly 75 boards per year.
That’s a lot of moving parts, but Whatley manages it all brilliantly.
Meet Eagle Scout No. 1,000
When Preston arrived at the church that night, he didn’t know he would become the 1,000th Eagle Scout under Whatley. It just so happened that his was the fourth board of review completed that night, so he was lucky No. 1,000.
Preston, from Troop 176 of Fayetteville, Ga., was told he had successfully completed his board of review after 7 p.m. His mom was by his side when he got the good news.
The new Eagle Scouts were invited upstairs for a reception honoring Whatley. Whatley wasn’t told what was going on, and when she entered the room she was surprised at what she saw.
Gathered there were fellow Scouters, friends and family members. Among those in attendance were Flint River Council Scout Executive Kelvin Williams, Fayette District Chairman David Worley, Senior District Executive Danny McCranie and friend and fellow Scouter Carl Lowry.
Lowry presented Whatley with a citation of appreciation, and Jeff Shafer honored her with a Henry Repeating Arms Golden Boy Eagle Scout Tribute Edition Rifle.
Thanks to Carl Lowry for the info and blog post idea.