Achieving the rank of Eagle Scout had always been a goal for Geneva High School senior Douglas Johnson.
He only wishes he earned the honor sooner.
His grandfather, Bill Johnson, was an Eagle Scout and local Scouting legend who, among other accomplishments, started Troop 25 in 1958 with St. Charles Episcopal Church as the sponsoring organization and led the troop for 30 years as Scoutmaster.
The Three Fires Council even named an award after him.
“It was such a big part of his life,” said Douglas, his only grandson.
After graduating from Cub Scouts, Douglas said he followed in his father’s and uncles’ footsteps by joining his grandfather’s troop. He said the family connection had “a big influence” in his decision, though he also liked Troop 25 because of its small size.
Douglas, 18, said his grandfather remained active in the troop.
“He made it to every meeting up until he passed,” he said.
Bill Johnson died in October 2011 at age 87. Douglas said he had hoped to become an Eagle Scout before his grandfather’s death.
“That is something I regret,” Douglas said. He added that becoming an Eagle Scout “was his dying wish to me.”
For his Eagle project, Douglas made four raised-bed gardens for St. Charles Episcopal Church.
He left two gardens open for the church’s flower guild and planted produce in the others with the idea the church could use the food for its monthly spaghetti dinner, he said.
He finished the project last year and had his Eagle Scout ceremony this month, he said, noting his grandmother, Elizabeth Johnson, attended.
“I got a big hug from her,” Douglas said.