In the Boy Scouts of America, every young scout must learn the Scout Law and Scout Oath to advance in rank. Just like all other scouts, Chris and Nick Goodenow memorized and did their best to live by those creeds, but a promise they made to their great uncle may have been the most instrumental oath to inspire the brothers to reach the pinnacle of scouting.
Their father, Greg, and great uncle, J.F. Goodenow, had earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Growing up, the brothers heard about how the family hoped they would be the third generation in the Goodenow family to earn the rank.
"They didn't really ever give us too many stories about their experience," Nick said. "But they did talk about how much they'd like for us to earn Eagle."
When Chris was in sixth grade and Nick in fourth, J.F., who was known as "Uncle Buck", became ill. Before his death both boys promised their Uncle Buck they would continue the tradition of becoming Eagle Scouts.
Last Sunday, Nov. 16, 2003, Nick had his ceremony known as the Eagle Court of Honor. The ceremony fulfilled his promise to his late uncle, five years and eight days after his older brother had his ceremony.
"I had everything done when I was 14 except for my Eagle project," said Nick, a senior at Moffat County High School. "Once I got into high school, I lost some motivation and also got busy with everything else."
Part of the loss of motivation may have had to do with his dad no longer being the adult leader, in scouts known as the Scoutmaster. For most of the time that Chris and Nick were in scouts, their dad was the Scoutmaster. Troop 166 was responsible for at least 10 Eagle Scouts in as many years, "It kind of died out after he stopped," Nick said. "A lot of the guys who were in it earned their Eagles and then we didn't have a whole lot of younger guys come in."
Nick said that Troop 166 will have one more Eagle Scout after him and then it will stop as a troop.
While it was an active Troop 166 was pretty busy.
There is a saying is Scouting that goes "80 percent of Scouting is Outing," and Troup 166 had its share of outings. Needless to say, the brothers spent a lot of time together on camping trips.
"Dad would sometimes stop the car and make us ride in separate vehicles because we would be arguing," Nick said. "Chris never wanted to sleep in the same tent as me either."
"They've always been pretty competitive," said Sue Goodenow, their mother.
They shared the experiences of manning a sailboat from Long Island, N.Y., to the Catalina Islands. They also canoed in Manitoba, Canada and had numerous campouts together.
"We didn't always work well together," Nick said. "But when we had to, we did a good job helping each other out."
Their Eagle Projects were times that the two aided each other. The Eagle Project is the final thing a Scout is responsible for before he can earn the Eagle. The candidates must plan, organize and complete a community service project.
Chris's project was to retrieve a sign that had been vandalized and thrown down a ravine at Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction.
"We repelled down there a lot," Chris said. "So they asked one of us to get the sign for our project."
Nick and his parents and other scouts helped pull Chris and the sign back up the ravine with a pulley system that Chris had designed.
Chris became an Eagle Scout before high school, a goal that had been set for the two boys. Originally the deal for the brothers was that they had to get their Eagle Scout award before they got their driver's license.
"It was supposed to work that way for Nick, but he got his license anyway," Chris said.
"I had a lot of reminders from my family and other people so I finally got around to planning my project and getting it done," Nick said. "I probably would have never lived it down considering how close I was."
Last summer Nick tore down the old scout building in Craig's City Park for his project and although he's no longer in Scouts, Chris returned the favor and helped.
"I had a lot of people tell me how much they wish they would have stayed in Scouts to get their Eagle," Nick said. "So that encouraged me to get going after two years of doing nothing with it."
Nick's time was running out, for once a Scout turns 18 he can no longer advance. His Court of Honor came after he had turned 18, but he had all the paper work done before his 18th birthday.
"I'm glad I got it done," he said. "Now I can keep the legacy going with my son."
Chris agreed that he hopes his sons will want to earn the honor as well.
The honor is more than just a family tradition.
"It is something that I'll be proud of to put on my resume," Chris said.
"I learned a lot of technical and practical stuff I'll use the rest of my life," added Nick. "It is an honor because it takes so much work to get done."
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org