Four Generations of Eagle Scouts
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- Jackson Wehrli became the newest Eagle Scout to join four generations of Eagle Scouts in his family, including himself, his father, his grandfather, and his 101-year-old great-grandfather.
“When you are involved in Scouting you are involved in something positive, no matter the activity.” —Jackson Wehrli, Eagle Scout
Fifteen-year-old Jackson Wehrli had just one request when he was planning his recent Eagle court of honor: he wanted to share that once-in-a-lifetime event with his great-grandfather Gilbert Allington.
His family was eager to accommodate his wish. Brother Allington is a special man. For starters, he is 101 years old. And second, he is a proud Eagle Scout who still wears the uniform with pride at Scouting events.
So Jackson recently made the trip with his parents from their home in Littleton, Colorado, to Holladay, Utah, so Brother Allington could participate in the ceremony near his home.
The traditional “Eagle’s Nest” at Jackson’s court of honor formed a timeless tableau. Four generations of Eagle Scouts were recognized, including Jackson; his father, Christopher Wehrli; his grandfather Donald Wehrli; and his great-grandfather Gilbert Allington.
Having all four of the family’s Eagle Scouts together and in uniform “was a special event,” recalled Jeri Wehrli, Jackson’s grandmother.
The family’s Scouting story traces its beginnings to the 1920s, when young Gilbert—a lifelong Church member and a Holladay native—became part of the Church-sponsored Scout Troop 50. Brother Allington had always loved nature, so Scouting seemed a natural fit.
“I enjoyed the hiking and the fishing and just being outdoors,” he told the Church News.
While reflecting back on his own Scouting experience almost a century ago, Brother Allington recognizes skills he learned in Troop 50 that served him throughout his life.
“Scouting taught me about being a leader and how to set goals,” he said.
The centenarian said the world has changed in many ways since he was a Boy Scout. His great-grandson Jackson lives in a far more complicated world. But a boy, he said, can still benefit from being a Scout. Despite his advanced age, he was honored to pull on his uniform and stand tall with the rest of his Eagle Scout relatives.
Jackson has had several opportunities to sit down with his great-grandfather and talk Scouting. Often those chats evolve into gospel discussions. Both Eagle Scouts agree today’s young people face more challenges than ever before.
“That’s one reason why I enjoy Scouting,” said Jackson. “When you are involved in Scouting you are involved in something positive, no matter the activity.”
Jackson is a teacher in the Clement Park Ward, Columbine Colorado Stake. Outside of a few young men from his ward, Jackson does not know any other boys involved in Scouting. So he learned to rely on the support of his family and fellow ward members.
Although he was born into a legacy of Eagle Scouts, Jackson said he was not strong-armed into earning the prestigious award. Instead, his father and grandfathers encouraged Jackson through their own support and examples.
“In Scouting you never do things alone—it takes the help of a lot of people to do it the right way,” he said.
Like his 101-year-old fellow Eagle Scout, Jackson said the Church-sponsored program has equipped him with lifelong skills. His Eagle project, for example, taught him the importance of being well prepared and well organized. For his project, he and several other Scouts built a wheelchair-accessible picnic area on the banks of a nearby reservoir.
After high school, Jackson plans to serve a mission and then attend film school.