- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2009

When Michael Lucchi turned 11, his father, Len, took him to four Boy Scout troops in Bowie. Mr. Lucchi wanted to let Michael choose which troop he would join.

He did this knowing full well that his son’s mind already was made up.

It was inevitable that Michael would join Troop 403, sponsored by Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. It’s the same troop Mr. Lucchi to which Mr. Lucchi belonged 30 years ago, when he was a Scout in Bowie. It’s the troop where, in 1976, Mr. Lucchi became an Eagle Scout, earning the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve.

Since Michael began his Boy Scout career in Troop 403, he has advanced rapidly through the various levels of achievement, just as his father did.

“He probably would not admit it, but he was probably trying to match a lot of his father’s accomplishments,” said Jim Morehouse, Troop 403 Scoutmaster.

This summer, Michael finally matched his father’s greatest Scouting achievement by becoming an Eagle Scout. He accomplished this goal in just three years - Michael was 14 at the time.

On average, most Scouts are at least 16 before they make Eagle, and often boys earn the rank in the months before they turn 18 and no longer would be eligible to be Scouts, Mr. Morehouse said.

“Making Eagle at his age? That’s unusual,” Mr. Morehouse said. “That’s just a lot of drive on his part and the desire to do it.”

In Michael’s case, no one in the troop or in his family has ever questioned his desire. When he joined the troop, Michael often took other Scouts his age to look at a plaque hanging in a stairwell at Holy Trinity. His father’s name is listed on the plaque as the fifth Eagle Scout the troop ever had.

Michael would point out his father’s name and confidently tell his friends that soon he would be honored on the plaque as well.

Eagle Scouts are required to earn at least 21 merit badges, hold a leadership position in the troop for at least six months and plan and execute a local community-service project. Then they go before a review board, whose members are adult leaders in the troop and local community officials.

What sets Michael apart from other Scouts his age is his determination, which comes from the father-son competition, Mr. Lucchi said. Michael wants to accomplish everything his father did, only better.

So far, Michael has succeeded. He became an Eagle Scout at younger age than his dad, who achieved the rank at 15. Michael has 41 merit badges. Mr. Lucchi earned the required 21 but no more.

“There are a lot of boys who probably have a dozen or so partial [merit badges],” said Brenda, Michael’s mother. “But it’s the effort it takes to go from getting it started to following it through with the work you have to do on your own.”

Senior Patrol Leader Niko Paiz, 17, was Michael’s main competition last year for total merit badges earned. He earned 18, one more than Michael. Niko, an Eagle Scout as well, said he was impressed by the stiff competition Michael provided.

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