An Eagle Court of Honor was held for Troop 216 Boy Scout John Dmitry Pepper on June 1 at t heFirst Baptist Church in Jefferson. (Paula Roberts photo)
John Dmitry Pepper became Jefferson Troop 216’s newest Eagle Scout on Sunday, June 1. When he joined in 2009, he had never been on a hike, cooked over a fire, gone camping, or
done any of the hundreds of skills he learned on his journey to Eagle.
Pepper’s Eagle Scout ceremony was held at the First Baptist Church in Jefferson, the Troop’s sponsoring organization. Fellow scout Noah Sherburne was the moderator of the Court
of Honor. The Rev. Kevin Banfield gave the invocation and Troop 216 presented the colors. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Pepper played a lively rendition of “The Star-Spangled
Banner” on the piano.
The Eagle Court of Honor was called to order by Michael Buring and the Troop conducted a Scout Law Ceremony.
Valerie Drever gave the Scoutmaster’s challenge, in which she talked to Pepper about time, saying each person has the same amount of time every day. The difference, she said, is
what people put into it and what they take out of it.
“You cannot back track, you only pass this way but once,” Drever said. “As an Eagle Scout, value your time.” Drever challenged Pepper to stay involved with the Troop to help the
younger Scouts progress.
Scout leader Robert Kanewski spoke about Pepper’s trail to Eagle. Pepper volunteered more than 40 hours with Bread of Life Ministries in Augusta, working in the soup kitchen. He
took Leave no Trace training, then came back to the Troop and taught leaders and fellow Scouts alike what he had learned.
Pepper earned 29 merit badges, including the 21 required for Eagle. For his Eagle Scout service project, Pepper organized the construction of footbridges at the Sheepscot Valley
Conservation Association’s Stetser Preserve in Jefferson.
SVCA Program Manager Lynne Flaccus told Pepper the association is “very appreciative of the work that you have done.”
Leader Kenny Foster spoke of Pepper’s journey in Scouting, saying Dmitry and his brother Sergie “brought a tremendous teaching opportunity to Scouting. They brought
opportunities for our older Scouts to teach. They had never cooked, never been in the woods. They were sponges.”
“You have shined beyond our wildest dreams. We are all very proud of you,” Foster said. “When given a task, he would do it. He would teach someone else to do it. He always came
prepared. He fulfilled his duty with honor and dignity.”
Eagle Scout James Johnson gave Pepper his Eagle charge, using a hike up a mountain as a symbol for the challenges he would face in life.
“Just like every other challenge you have faced, take it one step at a time. Keep your eye on the goal and you will reach the top,” Johnson said. “There are many mountains ahead
of you. Set goals and take it one step at a time. Good luck and good climbing.”
Eagle Scouts in attendance were Bob Kanewski (’60), James Johnson (’89), Dave Drever (’53), Stuart Sherburne (’47), Kerry Ramsdell (’73), Ethan Foster (’09), Ryan Hayes (’10),
and Kevin Banfield (’73).
Pepper thanked many people who helped him along his trail to Eagle. “Scouting gave me the opportunity to meet people outside of my family. Earning merit badges taught me many
life lessons,” Pepper said.
Banfield gave the benediction, and Troop 216 retired the colors.