Frenship HS student soars to Eagle Scout rank
A former Boy Scout leader said Saturday, April 20, he thought it was his job to teach the Boy Scouts in his troop.
But Robert Ward said tearfully that newly minted Eagle Scout Brian Swacina ended up teaching him a lot more, always having a hug and smile for him.
More than 60 people showed up for an Eagle Scout Court of Honor for Brian, a Frenship High School senior who has Down syndrome. The ceremony was held at First Baptist Church in Wolfforth, where members of Troop 575 meet.
Ward was the previous Scoutmaster of Troop 575, into which Brian transferred in 2007. He credited Brian for helping his own son, Devin, to become an Eagle Scout two years ago.
Devin helped Brian with the Eagle Promise at the Court of Honor.
Kim Swacina said her son was allowed to have extra time to finish the Eagle Scout requirements because of his disability from Down syndrome. Usually Boy Scouts have to finish the requirements by the time they are 18 years old; Brian is 21.
He was also allowed to substitute some requirements, but his Boy Scout leaders and parents said the substituted requirements were no less challenging than the normal requirements.
In one instance, instead of walking a 5-mile hike, he rode horses. His mom said he would not have been able to complete the 5-mile hike.
Kim and Dwayne Swacina said they decided to put both of their boys in Scouts because they knew it would be beneficial.
When older brother Steven was awarded the Eagle Scout rank in 2007, Brian became more determined to achieve the same rank, they said.
Marty Northern, scoutmaster of Troop 505, Brian’s first troop, said the new Eagle Scout has accomplished many things in his 13 years of being in the Boy Scouts.
Brian earned the Arrow of Light as a Cub Scout before crossing into Troop 505, Northern said.
Ray Copeland, scoutmaster of Troop 575, said Eagle Scout is the highest rank in Scouting, with only 4 percent of all boys who start in Boy Scouts achieving that rank.
Along the way to becoming an Eagle Scout, Brian completed more than 55 hours of community service outside of his own service project. He also earned 28 merit badges and has served twice as the historian and the librarian of his troop.
In that service project, Brian led 53 volunteers in creating a garden at the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center with materials donated by Holland Gardens, Sutherlands and T.G.’s Trees.
Brian said his favorite badge was for dog care, while personal management was the hardest to earn.
Kim Swacina concluded the ceremony Saturday by saying she shouldn’t be surprised there were so many people in attendance. Throughout Brian’s involvement in Boy Scouts, she said, people have always been accepting and helpful.
In addition to being involved in Boy Scouts, Brian also competes in Special Olympics with FHS and the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center, having won a gold medal in the state Equitation competition in 2012. He competes in Challenger League Baseball, bocce ball, bowling, basketball and track. He also plays piano.
Brian Swacina will graduate from FHS in May and plans to work this summer at the Ripley Do Da’s Daycare Center.
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