Tragically, one of our Eagle Scouts, Michael (Mikee) Linville, passed away in a skiing accident a few years ago at just 25 years of age. He was not only one of our Eagle Scouts, he was also the son of Dick Linville, one of our adult leaders. Our Troop is a close one and many of our adult leaders have served together for a decade or more, so it’s hard to describe what an impact it had on the whole Troop.
The loss of a child is so enormous, there isn’t very much you can do to comfort the family. The Troop rallied around Mikee’s parents Dick and Sharon and his sister Sarah, and we sent a strong contingent of Scouts and leaders to his memorial service. A lot of his Patrol was able to be there, but they wanted to do something a bit more lasting to honor Michael’s memory for the long-term. So, a few of the leaders got together and sort of unanimously decided to create a scholarship fund in Mikee’s name.
It is funded not with Troop money, but with voluntary donations from various adults and Scouts who knew him and want to remember him. It is used as needed, at the Scoutmaster’s discretion, to cover Summer Camp and other costs for young men in the Troop who are financially challenged. It is handled very discretely between the family, the Scoutmaster and the Treasurer, so no one is ever embarrassed due to the lack of funds. And if it starts running a bit low, donations seem to quietly show up. Michael died doing something he loved to do, back-country skiing, and that love stemmed from his outdoor experiences during his Scouting years, so it seems fitting to honor his life and his love of the outdoors by helping other young men enjoy the same experiences.
Mikee is also honored at every Eagle Court of Honor. We begin each ceremony by reading the names of all 123 of our Eagle Scouts. We also have an oak display box that contains a series of candles to represent each one. When we are able to use real candles, his is a gold one, but usually we use electric candles, so his is a red, white, and blue one among all the white ones. So even though most of the current crop of Scouts never had the chance to meet him, they all know his name and his story because we do our best to keep his memory alive. We had an Eagle Court of Honor just recently for five boys, and Mikee’s father Dick, a Silver Beaver Award recipient was gifted with several mentor pins from grateful Scouts who have benefited from his ongoing leadership in our Troop.
These are some memories Michael’s sister Sarah shared with us:
I didn’t know Mikee well in his Scouting world. I remember when he and my dad made little wooden race cars in our basement to race for Scouts and I insisted that I be made one to decorate on my own. I remember the wooden, multi-colored turtle figure he made to hold his uniform ascot in place. And I remember his Eagle ceremony and the pride my mother took in wrapping that blue scarf around his neck. But mostly Scouts was a gift for Mikee and my father, Dick Linville, who has unwaveringly continued his valued participation in Troop 411 after Mikee graduated from the Troop and after Mikee died.
Memories that my father will hold dear in his heart forever include their first Boy Scout campout in February,1996 with Troop 67, just west of Lyons, Colorado. They made snow caves to sleep in. “It was very cold,” Dad remembers, “I made him a cup of hot chocolate and served it to him while he was still in his sleeping bag – I’ll not easily forget his smile.”
Later in life Mikee invested himself even more dedicatedly to the outdoors and their activities. He found rock climbing and alpinism as a way to build his self-confidence and a way to delve into the concept of fear, its value and what it means to work in its presence without failure. Mikee’s first climbing experience was with my Dad and the Boy Scouts at a summer camp in New Fork, Wyoming in 2000. Dad remembers that not many Scouts were able to finish their climbs, but Mikee climbed and rappelled successfully in sandals.
Although Scouts was a catalyst for Mikee to appreciate the outdoors and to begin to understand what it means to be a steward for the earth, his sense of curiosity and awe about his world was something that was in him from the beginning. My mom kept a letter from his kindergarten teacher, written in 1991 before he went on to first grade. His teacher wrote that “He is very aware of Mother Earth and Father Sky and will talk about them often. Michael has a gift of genuine sensitivity and concern for our environment.”
Author: Adrian | AdriansCrazyLife.com. Adrian is a blogger who is passionate about helping parents with parenting tips, managing their finances, and organizing their homes. She has a full-time job in the financial industry and is part of the leadership of Troop 411 at Hilltop United Methodist Church in Sandy, UT.