Scout's Honor

Michael Muir

Michael Muir made it one step closer Wednesday to becoming an Eagle Scout by helping the Charleston Police Department equip dozens of East Side children with all the supplies they need to start school this month.

Muir, 15, a Boy Scout with Troop 130, which is sponsored by the police department, collected 22 book bags filled with school supplies and handed them out to students attending Camp Hope at Sanders-Clyde Elementary School.

Another 48 bags were supplied by citizens, police officers and others.

Police Chief Greg Mullen said the department has been supplying book bags to Camp Hope students for several years. Muir, a West Ashley resident and a rising sophomore at Bishop England High School, told his scout leaders that he wanted to make the book bags his Eagle Scout project.

To attain the rank of Eagle Scout, Scouting's highest honor, a Scout has to earn 21 merit badges, 11 of which are required and the other 10 of the scout's choosing, said Scott Newsome, a police officer and scoutmaster of Troop 130.

Muir had to select a community project, figure out how to fund and manage it, then present the project to a Boy Scouting leader for approval, Newsome said.

With the distribution of the book bags Wednesday, Muir has completed all his Eagle Scout requirements, Newsome said. A report will be sent to the Coastal Carolina Council. "He'll be awarded the Eagle Scout rank immediately," Newsome said.

Muir said his original goal was to get 12 bags. "But we got more donations than we expected," he said. He sent e-mails to people to solicit donations, he said.

The children at Camp Hope seemed delighted to get the book bags Wednesday. The bags were filled with such items as composition notebooks, washable markers, pencil boxes, No. 2 pencils, tissues and hand sanitizer.

The children's parents were excited too. "This is a blessing," said Mary Dilligard, who has three children in Camp Hope. "Especially in these difficult times."

Muir's parents, Becky and Carlton Lyons, beamed as they watched their son and the police chief hand out the book bags.

There were 70 bags altogether and only 62 students at Camp Hope, Mullen said. The remaining bags will be distributed to other needy students, he said.

Camp Hope, a late-evening program for 7- to 12-year-olds from Charleston's East Side, was launched by Mullen in the summer of 2007. Mullen said he is pleased with the results of the camp.

"When we started this, these kids wouldn't even look at us," he said. "Now they run up to us when they see us."