Three youth earn Eagle Scout Awards
The Scouting Ministry at First Presbyterian Church awarded scouting’s highest award to three scouts during a Troop 477 court of honor held Aug. 22. They were Gafton Keefe, Justin Tan and McLeod Price. Eagle Scout and Florence School District One school board chairman Porter Stewart charged the scouts to stay involved and give back to scouting. Gafton James Keefe is the 16 year-old son of Lee and Toni Keefe. Gafton is a sophomore at FCS where he has played soccer for two years. He attends Florence Baptist Temple and is active in its youth group and sings in the youth choir.
Gafton has been a member of the scouting ministry at First Presbyterian Church for three years where he has enjoyed many outdoor camping trips. Gafton has camped on the NC outer banks, been horseback riding, whitewater rafting and snow skiing in the NC mountains, backpacked on the Appalachian Trail in Virginia, spelunkering in Tennessee at the Lost Sea Wild Cave Adventure, camped at Georgia’s Stone Mountain and saw an Atlanta Braves baseball game where he was featured on the jumbo screen twice during the game. Gafton has also camped at Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground and swam with the Florida manatee in Crystal River, Florida.
Gafton has attended Camp Coker summer scout camp and enjoyed many local camping trips and trips to the lake where he enjoys tubing. Gafton has held multiple troop leadership positions including Troop Guide and quartermaster. He was elected into the Order of the Arrow and took his ordeal in June. Gafton’s Eagle Scout service project was clearing out Jeffries Creek for paddlers between Naturally Outdoors and Jeffries Creek Park.
Fallen trees and many bags of trash were removed, He also placed signs at the portages and built stairs at the Cashua Street sewer pipe to help kayakers and canoes get around it. Gafton also hosted a community paddle day where members of the press were invited to help get the word out about this hidden treasure in Florence. A total of 150 service hours were involved in completing the project. Gafton plans to continue in scouts and earn his Eagle Palms. Hong-Ming Justin Tan Justin is the 13-year-old son of Kai-Song and J.C. Tan.
He is an eighth-grader at Williams Middle School in the IB program, where he is a member of the Beta Club, Academic Challenge Team, and Math Team. Justin has been playing violin since he was 4 years old, and he is a member of the Florence/ Darlington Strings Orchestra. His advanced music ability has qualified him to play at the All Region and the All State Orchestra. Justin joined Cub Scout Pack 504 in 2nd grade and received his Arrow of Light. He then joined Troop 477 his 5th grade year. Justin served as Troop Librarian in his 2nd year in the troop and currently hold the position of Patrol Leader.
He was elected into the Order of the Arrow and took his ordeal in the fall of 2015. Justin’s first big trip with Troop 477 took place in the summer of 2014, a five-day journey to the Great Smokey Mountain Lost Sea. In the summer of 2015, Justin hiked the Appalachian Trail at Mt. Rodgers. In the summer of 2016, Justin hiked the brutal five-day trail through Joyce Kilmore Wilderness. Justin has been to Camp Coker 2 times and has earned a total of 34 merit badges. He also earned the religious award, God and Country in 2014. He plans to go to the 2017 National Scout Jamboree with his brother in West Virginia next summer.
For his Eagle Scout Project, Justin re-striped the lines and fixed and replaced the old signs and posts for the Williams Middle School parking lot. He also built a picnic bench for people to sit on. Justin researched and developed the plans and put together times for fellow scouts to participate. The new, more appealing parking lot has made the school look better. Justin totaled over 80 hours of man-work on his project. Scouting has been a wonderful journey that has taught Justin many important lessons.
He wishes to further continue his scouting and get his Eagle Palms. McLeod Price is the 18-year-old son of Julian and Tina Price. He has a sister named Heather. He is a freshman in college attending Francis Marion University, where he majors in business. McLeod joined Cub Scout troop 402 in the third grade and was active in that pack till bridging into Boy Scouts. He received the arrow of light award as a Webelos Scout.
While in troop 477, McLeod was elected into the order of the arrow Santee lodge #116 in the summer of 2012 and completed his ordeal in the spring of 2013. McLeod has been elected into many leadership positions such as senior patrol leader, patrol leader, and assistant senior patrol leader. He has earned a total of 24 merit badges. McLeod has traveled the east coast in his seven years as a scout. He has made two trips to Florida to swim with the manatee and a trip to Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park for a 50 mile paddle trip in the wilderness stopping by Niagara Falls on the way.
McLeod has enjoyed many winter outings in the NC mountains snow skiing and summer outings at the lake. For his Eagle Scout Project, McLeod re-striped the First Presbyterian Church’s parking lot. After the project was approved by the Scout troop and the church, McLeod gathered people to help clean the parking lot to where it was suitable to paint on top of. Then he used a mechanical paint sprayer to re-stripe the faded lines. He also repainted the handicap parking spots.