A Hamlet Boy Scout has earned the very first Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation patch.
Zackary Gerald, a 14-year-old student in Richmond Community College’s Early College Program, was awarded his special patch during a recent dinner meeting held at Heritage Baptist Church in Rockingham.
The colorful patch was presented by the President of the N.C. Chapter of the National Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Trent Strickland of Hamlet.
After presenting the patch to Zackary, Strickland briefly spoke of the Lewis and Clark expedition — considered one of the most important explorations in American history. The patch was established in 2011, according to Strickland.
“It leads (Scouts) to learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition,” Strickland said.
From 1803 to 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led a group of explorers across what is now the Western United States. For more than 200 years, their three-year journey has been thoroughly researched and written about by many authors. One of the most popular books (published in the 1990s) is “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose. Also, Ken Burns produced a two-hour TV documentary entitled “The Corps of Discovery.”
Zackary is the son of Sammuel and Jamie Gerald of Hamlet. “We are very proud of him and his hard work at it,” said Zackary’s father, Sammuel. “He worked hard to open up to the world and it teaches him responsibility.”
Zackary is the very first Boy Scout to receive the artfully designed patch developed and provided by the state chapter of the National Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. The requirements a scout must complete to receive the patch are set by the N.C. chapter, but the individual scout has some choices as to which assignments he chooses to complete.
“I’m very proud of myself for being the first to achieve this,” said Zackary. He said the hardest part of the assignment was the organization. “It was challenging to be organized and to keep a journal … I’m looking forward to earning my Eagle patch next.”
One assignment Zackary chose to undertake in his quest for the patch was to research and prepare a dinner meal which would be appropriate to the time of Lewis and Clark. This could be food that would have been served by President Thomas Jefferson upon the return of Lewis and Clark in 1806. It could be a meal prepared by the explorers themselves — a military meal on the trail — or something served to the explorers by the Native Americans.
To fulfill this assignment, Zackary provided the dinner meal for all the scouts, scout leaders, guests, and family members who attended the awards program. His menu, neatly typed and placed beside each place setting, was “Simple Meat Soup, Pan-fried Catfish, Hominy and Bacon, Roasted Artichokes and Cherry Sauce.”
In addition to preparing and serving the meal, Zackary also took a 10-mile hike in the Uwharrie Mountains, researched Richard Warfington (the only North Carolinian in the Corps of Discovery) on the Internet, kept a journal of all his activities pertaining to this project, and made a scrapbook telling of all his efforts to receive the North Carolina patch. He also gave an oral report to all those in attendance.
Also at the awards dinner, Scout Leader Randy McGee of Troop 49 awarded dozens of Boy Scout patches recognizing work or study in many different areas — forestry, oceanography, archery, etc. — to about 20 members of his troop.
— Staff Writer Cassidy Odom can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 16, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.