Chesterton Tribune



Troop 929 Scoutmaster David Larimer is Distinguished Hoosier

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Mentor a boy, encourage him, pick him up when necessary (or clip his wings), teach him well and true, and your legacy is the good he goes on to do.

What then is the legacy of a man who has mentored hundreds of boys and whose charges will spend the rest of their lives paying it forward?

At the recent Eagle Scout Court of Honor held by Troop 929 (Chesterton United Methodist Church), Scoutmaster David Larimer was presented with the Distinguished Hoosier Award, in recognition of his selfless commitment to Scouting and to the ramifying good done by those grounded in duty.

Larimer began his service to Scouting in 1998, first as Den Leader, then as Cub Master, of Cub Scout Pack 924 (Jackson Elementary School), and for the next 14 years guided some 400 boys through the program, more than the entire student body of Jackson Elementary. Yet Larimer’s influence has been far wider, because for 15 years he also served as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 929 (with six years overlapping in both leadership positions). In that time he shepherded nearly 200 more boys, more than a third of whom--70--succeeded to the rank of Eagle Scout under Larimer’s tutelage.

All of this, as the father of five and with a career in Chicago.

As Larimer’s nomination for the Distinguished Hoosier Award makes clear, his impact has been “exponential”: his Scouts have had outstanding careers, both academic and extracurricular, at Chesterton High School, winning accolades, honors, and titles in virtually every activity offered; now work as “teachers, engineers, doctors, trade persons, chefs, and nurses”; and have served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Navy, and Special Forces, with Doctors Without Borders, and in the mission fields.

As Larimer’s nominator put it, “What is not quantifiable is the impact each of these individuals, and each of these boys and families whose lives David has impacted, will have on their friends, their families, and their communities in the future, for generations to come.”

What is quantifiable, however, is the enormous benefit to Duneland in particular of being home to three score of Larimer’s Eagle Scouts, whose community projects over the last 20 years have contributed so greatly to its quality of life. His Eagle Scouts have beautified, rehabbed, repaired, or otherwise improved the facilities at Indiana Dunes State Park, St. Patrick School, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Dunes Friendship Land, Sunset Hills Farm County Park, State Park Little League, Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve, and the Westchester Migratory Bird Sanctuary, to name only a few.

“David has helped boys to learn attributes of helping one another with their projects, giving back to others and their community, helping others see the next step of leadership, encouraging boys to take up challenges when obstacles seem overwhelming, and keeping them on task when they strayed from their mission,” as Larimer’s nominator observed.

“For many of these boys, David has been a positive male figure that may not otherwise have been present,” his nominator concluded. “For other boys, David provided yet another positive male model, an additional voice in the village. . . . This donation of time has been given selflessly and graciously, . . . out of a love for others, a passion for his community, and his commitment to growing young people.”

Larimer told the Chesterton Tribune that he’s humbled and touched to have received the Distinguished Hoosier Award but that it’s an honor to be shared with everyone who made it possible. “Thanks to my wife, Jeannine, and five kids for allowing me to participate in so many fun Scouting activities over 23 years,” he said. “Your patience and support have always been critically important and will forever be appreciated. Scouting has allowed me to become a better leader, teacher, husband, and father. Thanks to all of the scouts and families who have shared in the Scouting adventure! I count you as some of the finest people and dearest friends in my life. I certainly hope you all had as much fun as I did. And thanks to all of the dedicated volunteers and leaders who helped organize, plan, and build such an active troop. You all deserve the vast credit for Troop 929’s success.”

Although Larimer is proud of all of Troop 929’s activities through the years--building and operating a haunted trail for 10 years; hiking, biking, canoeing, and kayaking; exploring both the outdoors and major cities--he is proudest of the tens of thousands of hours of service which his Scouts invested in the Duneland community. “Seeing all of your success--great or small--brings joy to my heart,” Larimer said. “Whatever you do in life, go out and be the strong, supportive, kind leaders that you are capable of. You each make the world a better place in your own way.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb chose Larimer for the Distinguished Hoosier Award, and the honor was presented to him at the Court of Honor by State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and State Sens. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, and Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso.

The Eagle Scouts

The following were made Eagle Scouts at Troop 929’s most recent Court of Honor, with their school, project, and career goals:

--Dylan VanNostran, CHS; Dunes Learning Center (DLC), constructed rainwater harvesting systems and outdoor classroom; precision machining or manufacturing.

--Benjamin Larimer, CHS; DLC, constructed rainwater harvesting systems and outdoor classroom; accounting.

--Nick Clark, Valparaiso HS; Liberty Intermediate School, landscaped outdoor garden and classroom; commercial pilot.

--Benjamin Stahlhut, CHS; DLC, built 12 raised garden boxes; undecided.

--Joey Coen, Westville HS; DLC, built benches and campfire ring; nursing or physical therapy.

--Jacob Coen, WHS; DLC, constructed gravel hiking trail and brick and steel firepit; machinist and volunteer firefighter.

--Matthew Koutsopanagos, CHS; DLC, built tables and benches for outdoor classroom; computer science and programming.

--Colin Nittner, CHS; Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, planted 50 cedar trees at bird overlook; astronomy.

--Gavin Dooley, CHS; Jackson Elementary School, built large message board in cafeteria, repainted decorative structures, repaired two outdoor chess tables; mathematics.

--Benjamin Hoham, CHS; Valparaiso First Presbyterian Church, constructed gravel meditation path and footbridge; undecided.

--Rhett Lubeck, CHS; DLC, built 12 raised garden boxes; medicine or architecture.

--Leland Culver, University of Chicago Laboratory School; Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, constructed trail and parking lot for bird-watching overlook; journalism, game design, politics, or screenwriting.

--Justin Coen, WHS; DLC, 10’ x 24’ woodshed; welding.



Posted 4/22/2019




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