The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

June 17, 2013

Area twins earn Eagle Scout awards

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Father’s Day was at least doubly special for Assistant Scoutmaster Robert Cornnell of Edmeston.

Cornnell, who became an Eagle Scout in 1977, saw his identical twin sons, Jordan and Dante, receive the Eagle rank on Sunday, about 10 years after the boys started in his pack as Tiger Scouts.

“We waited a long time for this day,” the senior Cornnell said at the convening of the Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Edmeston Troop 9.

About 55 Scouts, scouting leaders, relatives, friends and others were at the United Methodist Church in Edmeston for the 2 p.m. awards ceremony.

“Jordan and Dante have distinguished themselves,” Assistant Scoutmaster Rick Syke in welcoming guests. “This is an occasion for pride and joy.”

Syke and other Troop 9 senior patrol members reminded the boys of the significance of the Eagle Scout badge and its responsibilities of honesty, loyalty, courageousness and cheerfulness in not only continuing the tradition of a daily good deed but also being always prepared to put forth best efforts.

Troop 9 is part of the Otschodela Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Otsego, Schoharie and Delaware counties. The Eagle Scout rank involves organizing a community-based project and reflects the highest ranking in Boy Scouts of America. Almost 60,000 Scouts earned the Eagle rank in 2012, according to the National Eagle Scout Association.

In the church sancturary Sunday, the 15-year-old twins stood tall and held their hands high when reciting the Boy Scout Oath in reaffirmation. Their grandfather, Allen Cornnell of Marcy, participated in formally charging the twins with further duties as an Eagle Scout to dedicate their hearts, hands and abilities to “the common good.” 

Both Cindy and Robert Cornnell, the boys’ parents, wiped away tears at times during the ceremony, which lasted almost an hour. The boys were recognized with pins, citations, certificates and words of praise. They also received U.S. flags that had flown over the U.S. Capitol on May 20, courtesy of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. 

The twins received congratulations from other federal and state lawmakers, including correspondence from the nation’s five living presidents — Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.

The day joined Father’s Day in 1990, when he found out his wife, Cindy, was expecting their daughter, Stefanie, as the best Father’s Days in his life, Cornnell said. He said the boys were adopted when they were 2 years old.

Cindy Cornnell said the day was special because, as a mother, she has watched the boys grow and juggle scouting with school and sports activities. 

“They worked so hard over the years,” she said. 

The twins said they were proud of the accomplishments and pleased to follow in their father’s scouting footsteps. 

“We always had a good time as we made our ways through Scouting,” Jordan said after accepting the awards. Dante said their father was a role model and supporter.

“He always believed we could achieve this,’’ Dante said. 

Jordan said for his Eagle Scout project, he arranged the cleaning of more than 200 gravestones of veterans and firefighters so that visitors to the Edmeston Union Cemetery could read the markers.

Dante said his project was to make benches and signs for Burlington Green Cemetery and to scrape and repaint its storage shed. 

Robert Cornnell said his Eagle Scout project was to collect glass bottles for recycling. Since this was before bottle deposits, the glass was hauled to a scrap handler, money raised was donated to the public library, he said.

Cornnell said having earning an Eagle Scout rank shows an ability to complete a project and to “go an extra mile.” The ranking opens doors at college and job interviews and to other opportunities, he said. 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Syke reminded the boys to strive for “the noblest in life.”

“The eagle soars high,” he said, “and seeks only to rest on the lofty peaks.”