June 27, 2013Five young men from Grosse Pointe’s Boy Scout Troop 96 were awarded the rank of Eagle Scout during a Court of Honor ceremony June 3 at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church.
Those honored were Michael Caruso, Connor Coyle, Stephen Fleming, Alex Lagrou and Jacob Malbouef. State representative Alberta Tinsley-Talabi presented the scouts with tributes signed by Gov. Rick Snyder.
The rank is the highest in scouting and few attain it. To achieve the rank, each scout has advanced through seven scouting ranks, earned at least 21 merit badges, initiated, led and organized a community service project and incorporated scouting into his life.
The son of Thom and Elise Coyle and brother of Elizabeth, Connor Coyle’s Eagle project benefitted second graders attending Most Holy Trinity and Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic churches. He led a clothing drive in Grosse Pointe, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham Catholic churches to gather dresses, veils, pants and ties for children who were making their first communion at these churches and in need of appropriate clothing.
His most memorable scouting experience, he said, was “When I was a first or second year scout, I learned ‘cotton kills,’” he said. “On a winter camp out I was walking in the woods while wearing cotton socks, which retain much more moisture than wool or nylon socks. I began to feel faint. Some of the older scouts came across me in the woods, noticed I was cold and on the verge of hypothermia and carried me back to camp. I will never forget that event and because of it I created friendships with scouts that I still share today.”
Coyle is active in the Grosse Pointe South High School art program, is a tutor at Grace United Church of Christ, an assistant track coach at Brownell Middle School and a University Liggett School day camp counselor. During his years at South, Coyle was a varsity athlete on the cross country team.
A resident of Grosse Pointe Farms, Coyle graduated from Grosse Pointe South High School and will attend Central Michigan University in the fall to become either a secondary or special education teacher.
“My experience in Boy Scouts helped guide my decision to become a teacher. I love helping a scout learn essential new skills and advance in rank. That same process of teaching is something I want to do every day,” he said.
Coyle has been in scouting for 12 years and earned 23 badges.
Grosse Pointe Woods resident Michael Caruso’s Eagle Scout project created a garden for Montieth Elementary special needs students. He said the reason for the project was to give these students something they can care for and a “place to call their own.” It also gives other students a spot to sit and reflect.
“I did all the planning and mainly supervised the scout volunteers,” he said.
Caruso’s best scout memories include traveling to Philmont, N.M., for National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience and the hiking trek which, he said, deepened friendships with other scouts and taught him how to be a leader. Caruso has earned 27 merit badges and the aviation badge was his most significant, he said.
Scouts enjoy summer camp and it was no different with Caruso. “The summer camps I attended were also very fun. I got to do things that people hardly ever get to do and learn things that aren’t generally known.”
A junior at Grosse Pointe North High School, he is enrolled in honors and AP classes, maintaining a 3.8 GPA. He also was part of the stage crew for plays produced at North.
His hobbies are model building, drawing, painting, sculpting, graphic design and playing video games. Caruso is an employee with Lakeland Banquet Center.
He hasn’t settled on a college yet, but is looking at Michigan State University, the College of Creative Studies and California Institute of the Arts with possible majors of art, science, history or foods.
“I want a job that I can enjoy instead of walking in every day with a rain cloud above my head. I want to work with my hands and create things whether it be drawing something or cooking something creative and delicious,” he said.
Caruso is the son of Lisa Caruso-Spreder and Mike Caruso and has a sister, Alex, and two step-brothers, David and Don Spreder.
Stephen Fleming’s Eagle project was leading a scouting contingent in cleaning out the St. Leo Catholic Church choir space. They scraped old paint off the walls, repaired the floors and walls and constructed shelves to store equipment.
“My favorite Boy Scout memory is definitely my backpacking trip to Philmont, N.M.,” he said. “The most valuable things I think I learned are my first aid skills.”
During his high school years, Fleming enjoyed art and music classes and plays bass guitar in a jazz band and at his church. Fleming also trains in mixed martial arts and is an accomplished trumpet player.
He is considering majoring in business management at Wayne State University to become either a retail store owner or a radio broadcaster.
Fleming is the son of Ed and Terri Fleming and has an older brother, Eddie.
The son of Frank and Tina Lagrou, Alex Lagrou held a pet food drive to which he donated the bags and cans to the Michigan Humane Society to help feed both the shelter animals and families with pets who might not be able to afford food.
He, too, found a trip to the scout ranch in New Mexico to be the most memorable part of his scouting career.
“Philmont when we reached the top of Mt. Phillips and being there with my crew,” he said of his best scouting memory. “We got to watch the sunset and it was truly a magical moment in my life and a moment I will never forget.”
He has participated in varsity swimming and pole vaulting. He also plays guitar and piano. His summer goal is to learn to play the ukulele.
Lagrou will attend Central Michigan University to major in business to become a music producer. “But being in marketing or being the CEO of a company would be pretty cool, too,” he said.
He has two siblings, Liesel and Lilly.
Jacob Malbouef, the son of TJ and Maureen Malbouef, lives in the City of Grosse Pointe. He built a Ga Ga court on Maire Elementary School’s playground. Ga Ga is a free-for-all dodgeball style game. Played in a large fenced in arena, the goal is to tag people out by hitting them with a ball below waist level. The ball must be hit with an open hand.
“The school’s playground recently underwent a major renovation when the staff parking lot was moved and the new playground was built where the old (parking) lot was,” he said. “After hearing about how popular the court at Kerby is, I decided to check with Maire to see if they’d have any interest. The students all love playing in the court and (I) hear there is hardly a day it doesn’t get used at recess.”
Malbouef had to raise $350, draft the plans and purchase the material. With 20 volunteers, the project was completed in a weekend.
“My uncle, a part-time fence builder, provided a ton of insight and some tools to help us get the nine posts installed, which was followed by hanging boards and finish sanding,” he said.
Malbouef’s favorite scouting memory was at Philmont, N.M.
“The time I overcame my fear of heights and climbed/rapelled up and down a sandstone climbing wall at Philmont,” he said.
“I learned from experience that you shouldn’t let Eagle rank requirements drag out until the last minute. The stress it causes just isn’t worth it. Now that I’m an assistant scout master, I always try to mention that during (scout master) conferences.”
A member of the Grosse Pointe South High School’s National Honor Society and South’s symphony, Malbouef plays the piano. He is a volunteer at the Redford Movie Theatre and a volunteer and member of the Detroit Historical Museum’s Glancy Train’s Modular Train Club. He is both an apprentice and volunteer at Greenfield Village’s roundhouse.
He will attend Lawrence Tech University in the fall to study architectural engineering. Malbouef’s siblings are Stephen and Mary.