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Byron Rice

Judy Sheridan


Byron Rice’s family has blazed a trail of accomplishments in Boy Scouts that nearly spans the history of Scouting in the United States. Every male in his father’s family for the past 88 years has become an Eagle Scout, Scouting’s top rank and most significant achievement. It is a goal that less than 2 percent of all Scouts accomplish.

Rice’s father became an Eagle Scout in 1922, just 12 years after William Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America. Byron himself won the honor in 1948, a year before the organization lowered the age requirement for Cub Scouts to 8.

In the 1980s, when Cub Scouting registered its 30-millionth Cub Scout, both sons, Stephen and Derrick, became Eagles as well. Rice’s nephew, Dean Williams, earned his Eagle in 1983.

“I just wanted this to continue in our family because of what you learn,” Rice said. “Boys that go on to achieve the rank of Eagle learn dedication to a plan; that is something that can be used in all phases of their lives.”

To become an Eagle Scout, boys must earn 21 merit badges, achieve the rank of Life Scout, and serve six months in a position of responsibility in the troop. A service project is key, and boys must prove they can be leaders by planning, developing and executing a project that is helpful to a church or school, or one that benefits the community. In the Rice family for example, Stephen improved the landscaping at Couts Methodist Church, while Derrick cleaned an historic cemetery in Hudson Oaks, making it more accessible by building a bridge over a drainage ditch by the entrance.

A life long Scout, Rice has served on the Longhorn Council Executive Board for four years, earning the equivalent of an adult Eagle Scout Award, a Silver Beaver, in 2007. He has raised funds for 10 years with the Friends of Scouting, and spent another 10, when his boys were involved, as an assistant Scoutmaster.

“I have always said that the best time of my life was when I was in Boy Scouts, until I became involved with my sons ... then that became the best time,” he said. “Kids have so much fun in an active scout troop.”

The badges of the Rice family can be seen at the Doss Heritage and Culture Center, which is presenting an exhibit commemorating 100 years of Scouting through March 6.

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