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New Eagle Scout called a leader by example

On Sunday, April 14, Tom Haley of Troop 200 received his Eagle Scout Badge at his Eagle Court of Honor.
Tom Haley speaks at his Eagle Court of Honor

Tom Haley speaks at his Eagle Court of Honor /David Bellamy

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Tom Haley follows brothers down trail of the Eagle


When Tom Haley received his Eagle Badge at Sunday's Eagle Court of Honor, he became the fourth and final son of Mike and Maria Haley to earn Scouting's highest honor.

Preceding Tom Haley in attaining Eagle Scout were his brothers James, who earned the rank in 2003; Paul, 2006; and John, 2010.  All four brothers participated in the ceremony. 

All four Haley brothers earned their Eagle ranks as members of Boy Scouts of America Troop 200, which is sponsored by Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. 

With Tom Haley's promotion to Eagle Scout, the Haley brothers became the second-largest set of brothers in Troop 200's history to each earn the Eagle rank.

Also present at Sunday's ceremony was Nathan Iacopelli, whose August 18, 2012 Eagle Court of Honor celebrated his becoming the sixth and youngest Iacopelli brother to become an Eagle Scout through Troop 200.

Iacopelli's father, Augustine Iacopelli, who was Troop 200's Scoutmaster when Tom Haley entered Boy Scouts, participated in Sunday's Eagle Court of Honor.

Tom Haley gives his father, Mike Haley, his Eagle Scout Mentor Pin

Tom Haley gives his father, Mike Haley, his Eagle Scout Mentor Pin /David Bellamy

John, Maria, Tom, Mike, James and Paul Haley

John, Maria, Tom, Mike, James and Paul Haley /David Bellamy


Tom Haley admitted he was nervous as he stood at the podium.

He had just received his Eagle Scout Badge from Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Troop 200 at his Eagle Court of Honor in the deMazenod Room at Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Parish on Sunday, April 14, and all eyes were on him as he began his Eagle Scout Speech.

He decided to lower expectations. 

“I’m not a very good public speaker,” he said with a sheepish smile as he began his brief address, which emphasized the need for Scouts to invest themselves seriously in Scouting if they want to gain its rewards.

But if the soft-spoken Haley is not a polished orator, he has gained a reputation as a young man who lives out his speech's advice; indeed, those present at Sunday’s event described him as a young man whose wisdom, depth of character and hard-earned achievements exemplify Scouting’s highest values.

“Tom is a great Scout because he likes to lead by example,” said James Nachtegall, Troop 200’s Senior Patrol Leader, after the ceremony. “I’ve learned a lot from him.”

“People really look up to him as a role model,” Nachtegall continued.  “He leads by the way he lives his life.”

Haley’s quiet leadership became more public this past October when, for his Eagle Scout Service Project, he organized and supervised Troop 200’s construction of 175 crosses made from PVC pipes to replenish IHM’s Respect Life Month cross display. 

Before that, Haley also helped lead Troop 200 by serving as troop librarian and junior assistant Scoutmaster.  In 2009, his fellow Troop 200 Scouts showed their respect for him by electing him to the Order of the Arrow, BSA's honor society.

Haley has also served his church and school. At IHM, Haley assists the spiritual formation of junior high school students.  And at Catholic Central High School, where the 18-year-old Haley is a senior, he has been active in Peer Ministry, Teens for Life, and the planning of his senior class retreat.

Haley has also distinguished himself athletically and academically at Catholic Central, earning varsity letters in football and track, and gaining admission to the University of Michigan, where he plans to study engineering this fall.

Haley’s adult Scout leaders, former Troop 200 Scoutmaster Pat Schemmel and new Scoutmaster Dan Erickson, described Haley as a Scout of extraordinary maturity and wisdom as they recalled his Scoutmaster’s conference, the final requirement for Eagle Scout before the Eagle Scout Board of Review

“Tom just really, really impressed me by his grasp of the Scout Law and what that means,” said Erickson, who participated in Haley’s Scoutmaster conference while transitioning into his official duties as Scoutmaster.

Schemmel was clearly moved as she spoke of the same event, remembering Haley’s point-by-point discussions of the Scout Law and Scout Oath, their significance and their applications to his own life.

“I was so impressed I was close to tears,” said Schemmel, who helped mentor seven Eagle Scouts during her four-year tenure as Scoutmaster. “I’d just never heard something that profound come out of somebody that age.”

Erickson credited Haley’s family for his moral development, emphasizing the virtues they’ve taught and exemplified. 

And Sunday’s events made clear the influence of Haley’s family.  All three of his older brothers, James, Paul and John, each also an Eagle Scout, participated in the court, with Paul serving as the master of ceremony.  Tom Haley presented each of his parents, Mike and Maria Haley, with an Eagle Scout Parent Pin.

But Tom Haley also made the comparatively rare decision to choose his father, a Scout adult leader, to receive his Eagle Scout Mentor Pin.  Haley’s presentation of the Mentor Pin to his father marked the most emotional moment of the ceremony.

“The person who pushed me to go beyond the minimum, to really invest myself fully in Scouting, the person who has always been there for help, encouragement and guidance is my father,” a teary-eyed Haley said during his speech.  “And for these reasons I would like to give my Mentor Pin to my dad.”

Speaking after the ceremony, Mike Haley spoke of Tom Haley’s commitment to earn his Eagle Badge amid his busy high school schedule.

“He was very persistent in never giving up,” he said. 

Mike Haley also reflected on his youngest son’s achievements within the larger context of his family. 

“I’m so proud of all four of our sons,” he said. “Scouting has pulled them all together in ways that nothing else can. . . . Scouting also taught them to be leaders in a way society today struggles with.”

While Mike Haley expressed his thoughts with an earnest and serious demeanor, Maria Haley followed her husband’s comments with lighthearted reflections on her youngest son’s Scouting journey and her contribution to it.

“It took a little longer than I thought,” she said with a smile, alluding to the fact that Tom Haley completed his Eagle Scout requirements only two weeks before the deadline of his eighteenth birthday.  “But he made it, with a little assistance—i.e. nagging—from his mother.”

Speaking as the mother of four Eagle Scouts, Maria Haley also added her thoughts on how the BSA might expand its merit badge offerings.

“I’m waiting for the nagging merit badge for mothers,” she said.











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