Eagle Scout project is family affair for Peterson, Hendren

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Steven Peterson, a grandson of Pawhuska scout leader Bruce Hendren, has been completing the process of becoming an Eagle Scout. Peterson lives in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but he has been completing his Eagle Scout requirements with the help of his granddad through what the Boy Scouts of America calls the Lone Scout Plan.

Peggy Peterson, who is Steven's mom and Bruce's daughter, explained by telephone that their church parted ways with the Boy Scouts and that led to a need to make other arrangements for her three sons to enjoy the learning opportunities that youth are exposed to through scouting.

All three boys -- Steven is the eldest -- chose to affiliate with Troop 43 in Pawhuska, which is sponsored by St. Thomas Episcopal Church and is the troop for which Hendren is a leader.

"We just want to be part of Grandpa's troop," Mrs. Peterson said her sons told her, regarding how to move forward with their interest in scouting. Peterson said her family has a strong connection with scouting on both the maternal and paternal sides. Her father has been a scout leader for more than three decades. Additionally, her husband was an Eagle Scout, as was his father before him.

"Whenever we get to go visit in Pawhuska, it's always a special time," Mrs. Peterson said, reflecting on the enjoyment her sons derive from being able to visit with Mr. Hendren and learn new lessons about the outdoors from him.

Bruce Hendren commented that Steven Peterson did his Eagle Scout project, which involved painting poles in the city of Pawhuska on which American flags are posted during holiday periods, during the Thanksgiving 2021 break. The poles were painted to a height of 10 feet, Hendren said.

"When we put these new flags up on the 16th it's going to look really good," Hendren said, referring to plans to display U.S. flags for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The Epsilon Sigma Alpha sorority, which buys flags for holiday use in Pawhuska, recently ordered new flags to replace flags that had been destroyed in a building fire.

"It's been very cool," Hendren said of the opportunity to work with Steven on his Eagle Scout rank. "He's a top-of-the-line kid, too."

Steven also spoke highly of the opportunity to work with his granddad.

"That's super special," Steven Peterson said. "He's been super supportive."

Steven, who will turn 18 on Jan. 16, said he thinks achieving the rank of Eagle Scout, and doing it in collaboration with his grandfather, will have lasting meaning for him.

"It's more than something I'm going to sit on the shelf; something I hope I can carry with me," he said.

Bruce Hendren, who is 64, voiced pleasure in working with all of the scouts he leads.

"I'm proud of every one of them," he said. "They're all my kids."