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Priceless commemorative gun honors memory of Eagle Scout

"No one can pass through life, any more than he can pass through a bit of country, without leaving tracks behind, and those tracks may often be helpful to those coming after him in finding their way." - Lord Baden-Powell

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The Eagle Scout, 22 long rifle, owned by the John Heidesch family, features a gleaming engraved image of a majestic bald eagle and a banner proclaiming the proud sentiment of all Eagle Scouts, "Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle".
The commemorative Eagle Scout gun honoring the memory of Hunter Heidesch, son of John and Judy Heidesch, rests in a beautiful wood cabinet along with a memorial plaque and Hunter's Eagle scout award and medals. (Photo by Diane Stangl)

Hunter Jack Heidesch was a member of the few who followed the trail to the end and became an Eagle Scout with Troop 113 of Marcus in 2009, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who was an Eagle and his great-grandfather who earned the Silver Beaver award.

Since its inception in 1911, the rank of Eagle Scout has represented the pinnacle of scouting, being awarded to a select few young men who have demonstrated the highest levels of leadership and commitment to duty. These young men are truly the "best of the best".

Achieving Eagle Scout is the highest advancement rank in Boy Scouting. In 2010, around five percent of all Boy Scouts earned the Eagle Scout rank.

Hunter, the son of Judy and John Heidesch of Marcus, passed away in a tragic accident in Nebraska on August 2, 2011.
Mom, Judy Heidesch, who helped guide both her sons, Hunter and Sawyer, to their goal of becoming Eagle Scouts, still works with the scouting program focusing now on the Cub Scouts.

Of any one hundred boys who become Scouts, thirty will drop out in their first year. Perhaps this could be regarded as a failure, but in later life, all of these boys will remember that they had been Scouts and will speak well of the program.
Of the one hundred, only rarely will one ever appear before a juvenile court judge. Each of the one hundred will learn something from Scouting and almost all will develop hobbies that will add interest throughout the rest of their lives. Approximately one-half will serve in the military and in varying degrees profit from their Scout training. At least one will use it to save another person's life and many will credit it with saving their own.

Four of the one hundred will reach Eagle rank, and at least one will later say that he valued his Eagle above his college degree.

Only one in four boys in America will become Scouts, but it is interesting to know that of the leaders of this nation in business, religion and politics, three out of four were Scouts.

Scouting's alumni record is impressive. A recent nation-wide survey of high schools, revealed that:

  • 85% of student council presidents were Scouts
  • 89% of senior class presidents were Scouts
  • 80% of junior class presidents were Scouts
  • 75% of school publication editors were Scouts
  • 71% of football captains were Scouts

Scouts also account for:

  • 64% of Air Force Academy graduates
  • 68% of West Point graduates
  • 70% of Annapolis graduates
  • 72% of Rhodes Scholars
  • 85% of F.B.I. agents
  • 26 of the first 29 astronauts

Among the many things John Heidesch shared with his son, was his love of hunting and had wanted a commemorative Eagle Scout gun, but had never purchased one. Hunter's uncle, Wayne Heidesch, who sells guns in the business he shares with John - J & W Variety, contacted the Henry rifle company and inquired about purchasing a gun for John, following Hunter's death.

Wayne said, "after talking to the owner of the comany, he said he'd take care of it." And take care of it he did. They were blown away when the Henry® Rifle company donated the American-made Henry Golden Boy Eagle Scout Tribute Edition rifle to the Heidesch family as a tribute to Hunter, who had earned scouting's highest honor.

All Eagle Scout rifles are priceless to their owners, but what makes this one even more special is that the serial number, which is required on all firearms, was taken from Hunters initials and his birthdate - 1HJH52991.

The beautiful 22 long rifle, features a gleaming engraved image of a majestic bald eagle and a banner proclaiming the proud sentiment of all Eagle Scouts, "Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle". The left side bears the image of the famous Eagle Scout™ medal and banners reading Eagle Scout and Boy Scouts of America.

A tri-colored medallion replicating the Eagle Scout™ badge is inserted into the stock and the six badges of advancement which mark a scout's advancement to the Eagle Scout rank and the text "Trail to Eagle" are inscribed on the right side of the forearm.

The commemorative gun rests in a beautiful cabinet built by Rob Schorg and donated to the Heideschs'. The cabinet also contains a memorial plaque and Hunter's Eagle scout award and medals.

John Heidesch currently has the gun on display in the J & W Variety store in Remsen, and the family is looking for other area locations to display it, beginning with American Bank in Remsen.

By Diane Stangl
Reprinted with permission from the Remsen Bell-Enterprise


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