Lawson earns distinction with Eagle Scout badge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 21, 2004

DEMOPOLIS–On Sunday April 18, a very special thing happened for the community of Demopolis and for the Boy Scouts of America. Jeremy Tremaine (J.T.) Lawson, 16 of Demopolis received the highest honor a youth member of the Boy Scouts of America can achieve, which is the rank of an Eagle Scout.

While the rank of Eagle Scout is a huge honor, Lawson holds the special honor of being the first African-American to earn this award in Troop 41’s illustrious fifty-year history. Lawson may also be the first African-American Eagle Scout in Demopolis period. Troop 41 has produced over 50 Eagle Scouts during its tenure.

“As far as we know, J.T. is the first African-American Eagle Scout in Demopolis according to our records,” Scout Master for Troop 41 Jim Ellis said.

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Lawson is a member of local Demopolis Boy Scout Troop 41 and the second scout to achieve this award this year following Jamey Hurst. Ellis has played an important role in the last twelve Eagle Scouts to come out of the Troop and this is also true for Lawson.

“There were many people that helped me along the ‘Trail to Eagle’ including Mr. Ellis, Brian Murphy, and my mother Connie Lawson,” Lawson said.

More than 50 of Lawson’s friends and family filled St. Paul’s Baptist Church in Demopolis to witness the special event that is an Eagle Scout Ceremony. Lawson began his career in scouting with the Boy Scouts six years ago.

He said he was never in Cub Scouts, so he was young and inexperienced when he came to Troop 41. He also said he was new to the world of scouting, but that didn’t stop him from advancing very fast through Tenderfoot, Second Class, and 1st Class.

“I’ve done many different things during my career in scouting that I would not have been able to do unless I was in Scouting like go to Washington D.C. for the 2001 National Jamboree,” Lawson said.

He said his mother was a huge factor in his achieving this goal. He also said she asked him everyday when he was going to start working on his Eagle.

Lawson has attended summer camp at Camp Horne in Tuscaloosa at least 6 times, 3 as a Cub Scout and 3 as a Boy Scout, plus 2 nights with Order of the Arrow. He has also been on staff during his last stay at Camp Horne.

Lawson has earned 32 merit badges over his six years in Scouting. Some of the merit badges are much easier than others, but some are very difficult to earn. 21 are required for Eagle.

When operating as intended a Boy Scout Troop is ran by the boys. They elect their leaders. There are various leadership positions in the Troop, the highest being Senior Patrol Leader. Lawson has served as Senior Patrol Leader, but now has the role of Instructor.

Along this journey Lawson has grown not only in stature, but he has matured mentally as well. Some of his future plans include graduating high school from Demopolis High and then joining the Navy.