March 19, 2021

Teen’s tribute to veterans leads her to Eagle Scout honor

Renee Bauer earned the distinction of Eagle Scout by creating a tribute to military veterans at the St. Leon American Legion Post 464. A junior at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg, Renee poses for a photo by the tribute with Jerry Maune, commander of the St. Leon American Legion Post. (Submitted photo)

Renee Bauer earned the distinction of Eagle Scout by creating a tribute to military veterans at the St. Leon American Legion Post 464. A junior at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg, Renee poses for a photo by the tribute with Jerry Maune, commander of the St. Leon American Legion Post. (Submitted photo)

By John Shaughnessy

After a week of living aboard a 40-foot sailboat in the beautiful waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Renee Bauer knew it would be hard to top the adventures of snorkeling, coming close to a shark and ordering pizza from a floating restaurant.

The 18-year-old member of St. Louis Parish in Batesville shared that experience with four other youths and the boat’s crew members last summer as part of the Sea Base program of the Boy Scouts of America.

“The whole experience was like a big adventure,” says Renee, a junior at Oldenburg Academy of the Immaculate Conception in Oldenburg. “You get to see things you’ve never seen before, and you get to do things you’ve never done before.”

Renee also had another defining experience in 2020 as she earned the distinction of Eagle Scout. She became part of the first wave of females to earn that high honor from the Boy Scouts, which opened its membership to girls in 2019.

Compared to the Sea Base adventure, Renee describes becoming an Eagle Scout as exciting in a different way.

“The Eagle Scout project is the biggest lesson in leadership,” she says. “You have to do a lot of things yourself—doing the paperwork, finding people to help, giving directions to people.”

Her project involved honoring men and women who have served the United States in the military.

“In looking around the internet for ideas for my project, one thing they said is that as long as your project helps the community, it doesn’t matter if it’s small or huge,” she says.

Renee remembered how she had volunteered at the St. Leon American Legion Post 464 in her earlier years as a Girl Scout—helping during its Octoberfest and serving dinners when the post honored people who served in the military.

She approached the post leaders about creating a new sign for the post and placing a boulder beneath it that would be engraved with the words, “Dedicated to all who have served.”

“The American Legion is all about honoring soldiers,” she says. “I thought it would be nice to do something to honor the soldiers who have served our country and are still serving our country.”

Besides the sign and the boulder, Renee added plants and gravel to the area and two spotlights to illuminate it at night. All her 121 hours of effort in planning and creating the tribute impressed the members of the American Legion Post.

“It’s awesome,” says Jerry Maune, post commander. “She did an excellent job. And it looks great at night. I couldn’t thank her more for what she’s done.”

Renee was pleased and thankful, too.

“It ended up looking better than I thought it would,” she says. “I did have a lot of help from my troop, my family and my scoutmaster Ron Bacu.”

Renee’s Troop 1974 has its meetings in West Chester, Ohio, which is a 42-mnute drive—each way—from her family’s home in the southeastern Indiana community of Sunman.

Renee says her experience in both the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts has provided her with a different kind of “drive.”

“I learned that it’s important to make a list of goals for yourself and to follow through on your goals. Another thing I’ve learned is leadership. It’s important for people to experience being a leader so they can have that experience in the future.”

She also sees a connection between Scouting and her Catholic faith.

“They’re both about doing a good turn for others—treat others the way you want to be treated.” †

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