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Orland scout soaring like an eagle
Michael "Dixon" Murray has achieved the highest youth honor in Boy Scouts of America.
The 18-year-old son of Michael and Anna Murray of Orland has not only joined the ranks of the very few celebrated in the Eagle Court of Honor, but he plans to remain involved with Orland Troop No. 114 to inspire his fellow scouts to follow his path.
Murray is the first Orland scout in nearly a decade to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
He was the oldest member of his troop, which has about 11 members.
"I plan to stay active in scouting to be a role model for them," said Murray, whose Court of Honor was held on Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Only about 4 percent of Boy Scouts reach the highest rank, officials said, which is considered the pinnacle of a scout's years of hard work and dedication.
"Scouting is no doubt one of the greatest organizations in the world to foster the ideals of citizenship," said Troop Leader Gary Divine. "It is little wonder then that so many of our nation's greatest leaders had some of their earliest leadership experiences in scouting."
Murray's highly formal ceremony Saturday was similar to those during the past century that celebrated the achievements of Eagle Scouts like Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to walk on the moon, Walter Cronkite, who became one of the most recognized journalists and television news commentators in the world and Gerald R. Ford, who became the 38th US president.
Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, Divine said.
Earning the rank of Eagle Scout was not an easy task for Murray.
It required progressing through six ranks, earning 21 merit badges, serving in a troop leadership position for six months, passing the board of review and planning and executing a service project.
Murray, with the help of volunteers, built three dog kennels at the Town and Country Humane Society shelter on Old Highway 99 south of Orland.
Shelter Manager Judy Rapp said Saturday the kennels were desperately needed at the no-kill shelter and that they have been put to regular use.
"He did such a wonderful job," she said. "We use them every day."
Murray finished the project on Sept. 5, just two days before his 18th birthday, the deadline for completing his Eagle Scout requirements.
He was confirmed on Sept. 6.
"This young man persevered in the worse conditions but always with a smile on his face," said volunteer Roy Meredith, who along with a few of his biker friends were called in at the last moment to help get the job completed. "Dixon is the kind of kid this country needs."
During Saturday's ceremony, Murray received numerous pins, badges and awards for his achievement.
His Eagle Scout recognition pin was placed on his uniform by his mother.
The remaining awards were presented by Troop Master Kevin Albert, who said Murray's responsibility as an Eagle Scout does not end with the completion of the requirements.
Albert said Murray's charge as an Eagle Scout is to live with honor, remain loyal to his family, his community and his country, to be courageous and cheerful, and always be of service to others.
"An Eagle Scout lives honorably, not only because honor is important to him but because of the vital significance of the example he sets for the Scouts," Albert said. "Living honorably reflects credit on his home, his church, his troop and his community."
Although Murray tearfully accepted his awards and accolades, he, in turn, recognized those who helped mentor him in Boy Scouts or helped him succeed with his project.
Murray gave special recognition to Albert, Divine, Meredith, James Williams and Dr. Jared Garrison.
He also recognized the hard work of his mother, who he said aided and encouraged his efforts in scouting the past 10 years.
After the ceremony, Anna Murray said she could not describe how proud she and Murray's father were of their son's achievement.
"I can only say it with tears," she said, "It can't be said in words."
Murray joined Boy Scouts when he was 8 and was one of three boys his age.
At the time, Orland did not have a very large or active troop.
The organization has grown in the past few years with the help of dedicated individuals and parents, Divine said.
Because the Eagle Scout title has been described as "a resume in itself," and one that opens the doors of opportunity for its recipients, Murray said he will continue in the organization as Assistant Troop Leader in order to assist the other scouts who aspire to achieve the highest honor.
Murray is a senior at William Finch Charter School.
He plans to attend Butte College and California State University, Chico to study graphic design and computer arts.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or email@example.com.