When the call came a few weeks back, Bruce Reed certainly wasn’t expecting it.
Reed, 65, had remained heavily involved in the Boy Scouts of America since he earned Eagle Scout status in 1963. But until someone from the Heart of America Council told him this year would mark the 50th anniversary of his induction, he hadn’t noticed the milestone coming.
“It kind of snuck up on me,” said Reed, a retired Blue Springs School District teacher. “I wasn’t thinking of it being that long ago.”
On Sunday, Reed’s Scouting tenure came full circle at the 2013 Class of Eagle Scouts Reception at Municipal Auditorium’s Music Hall in downtown Kansas City.
In addition to serving as master of ceremonies for the event he once attended as a 15-year-old, the Eagle Scout Class of ’63 alumnus was also recognized as part of a new ceremony that honors those celebrating their 25th and 50th anniversaries as Eagle Scouts.
“Bruce has been instrumental in the Scouting program,” said Mark Brayer, director of support for the Heart of America Council, calling the decision to have Reed serve as ceremony master a natural choice.
The day was made all the more significant, meanwhile, because of the venue.
Reed’s own ceremony had been held at the Music Hall back in ’63, and he still remembers fondly the excitement that accompanied stepping onstage to accept the Scouts’ highest rank.
“It made us realize what an important award that was for us to have earned,” Reed said.
Despite the snow and single-digit temperatures, 184 newly minted Eagle Scouts and their families showed up for Sunday’s ceremony.
Dozens of teenage boys roamed the auditorium’s expansive lobby in the hour or so before the program began, a swarm of khaki. In one room, tables full of historical Boy Scouts memorabilia were on display, and Scouts young and old mingled in the minutes before the 2013 class gathered for a group photo.
In all, the ceremony acknowledged 935 boys who’d earned Eagle Scout status — the highest honor a Boy Scout can earn — in 2013. Terry Dunn, the CEO of JE Dunn Construction Group, was the 2013 Eagle Scout Class honoree, and the program also included a taped congratulatory message from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, an Eagle Scout himself.
To earn Eagle Scout status, boys must earn 21 merit badges, serve in a leadership role for six months and conduct a service project.
Sunday’s reception was only the second such ceremony in Kansas City since 1979. It was resurrected last year as a way to formally honor the metropolitan area’s Eagle Scouts.
“Kansas City runs as strong as anybody,” said Ken Miller, scout executive for the Boy Scouts’ Heart of America Council. “And this is a good event to showcase who we are and what we do.”
Added Miller, “These kids will tell their grandkids they were on stage in the Music Hall.”