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.
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.
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.”
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
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,
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:
CHS; Dunes Learning Center (DLC), constructed rainwater harvesting systems
and outdoor classroom; precision machining or manufacturing.
CHS; DLC, constructed rainwater harvesting systems and outdoor classroom;
Valparaiso HS; Liberty Intermediate School, landscaped outdoor garden and
classroom; commercial pilot.
CHS; DLC, built 12 raised garden boxes; undecided.
Westville HS; DLC, built benches and campfire ring; nursing or physical
--Jacob Coen, WHS;
DLC, constructed gravel hiking trail and brick and steel firepit; machinist
and volunteer firefighter.
Koutsopanagos, CHS; DLC, built tables and benches for outdoor classroom;
computer science and programming.
CHS; Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, planted 50 cedar
trees at bird overlook; astronomy.
CHS; Jackson Elementary School, built large message board in cafeteria,
repainted decorative structures, repaired two outdoor chess tables;
CHS; Valparaiso First Presbyterian Church, constructed gravel meditation
path and footbridge; undecided.
CHS; DLC, built 12 raised garden boxes; medicine or architecture.
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.