FLORENCE, S.C. – Five local Boy Scouts received Eagle Scout awards on May 20 in a ceremony at First Presbyterian Church in Florence.
The scouts from Troop 477 at First Presbyterian Church were Jack Banner, R.J. Mack, Mac Malambri, Ethan McCown and Taylor Stokes.
Scoutmaster Mike Morgan charged the scouts to always live by the scout oath and law.
Scout Executive Michael Hesbach offered congratulations from the national scout office, and American flags that had been flown over the state capital were presented as congratulations from S.C. Rep. Jay Jordan.
John ‘Jack’ David Banner Jr.
Jack Banner, 16, will be a junior at Trinity-Byrnes Collegiate School in the fall. He is the third member of his family to earn scouting’s highest honor. Jack’s grandfather, Dave Banner, earned his Eagle in 1955, and his uncle, Michael Morgan, earned his in 1991.
While participating in scouts and working toward his Eagle, Jack has excelled academically and has remained well-rounded. He is a member of the varsity cross country, basketball and track and field teams at Trinity-Byrnes. He earned all-region honors in cross-country in 2018 and qualified for the state championship meet in the 3,200-meter run this spring season in track.
Jack’s favorite scouting experiences have been the backpacking and rock scrambling trips. He has backpacked the Appalachian Trail, Joyce Kilmer National Forest, Grayson Highlands National Forest and stood atop Mount Rogers, the highest natural point in Virginia. This summer, he will backpack the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Idaho. Jack also was elected into the Order of the Arrow and completed his ordeal in 2018.
For his Eagle Scout project, Jack recognized the opportunity to partner with Trinity-Byrnes to enhance school safety. He organized and obtained supplies through donations from local businesses to create Lockdown Kits for each classroom. In the event of an emergency that prevents students from being able to leave the classroom, these kits provide essential supplies for enduring the situation.
The scouting experience has taught Jack time-management, leadership and accountability skills that will assist him in achieving his future goals.
Jack is the son of Meredith and David Banner. He has two younger sisters, Morgan and Ellison. He is the grandson of Carol and Dave Banner and Pam and Mike Morgan, all of Florence.
Rogers James Jabe ‘R.J.’ Mack
R.J. Mack, 16, recently finished his sophomore year at South Florence High School, where he is a member of the National Honor Society, the Beta Club and the varsity soccer team. He also is a member of NewSpring Church.
Over the past 3 years, he has participated in the “Fuel Up to Play 60” program, a national food and physical fitness program that is sponsored by the NFL. The program hosts annual summits during the summer that are held in the cities where the NFL will host the Super Bowl the following year. He is also an Ambassador Leader, which recognizes leadership potential among young people that care about their community.
During the summer of 2018, R.J. spent 12 days at UCLA. This summer, he plans to spend 10 days at Yale University. R.J.’s goal is to attend an NCAA Division I college, where he hopes to play soccer and pursue a career in engineering.
R.J. joined the Cub Scouts as a 9-year-old with Pack 476 at St. Paul Methodist Church and later joined Troop 477 at First Presbyterian Church. Over the past five years, he has enjoyed many wonderful experiences, including Camp Coker summer camp, camping on the Yorktown aircraft carrier in Charleston, snow skiing at Sugar and Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, H2O camp at Lake Robinson in Hartsville and camping in the outfield after a Myrtle Beach Pelicans baseball game.
One particular honor that R.J. holds in high regard is the Wreath’s Across America service project each December. During this project, he had the opportunity to place a wreath on the grave of his great uncle at the Florence National Cemetery.
Some of R.J.’s other highlights in scouting include earning his Order of the Arrow at Camp Coker in 2015, earning 26 merit badges and serving in the leadership roles of patrol leader and assistant patrol leader.
In January 2015, R.J. received the BSA Lifesaving Action Award at the council annual recognition dinner for his quick action and calmness in saving a life. In November 2014, R.J. was playing at recess when one of his classmates started to choke on some candy. All of the teachers were on the other side of the playground, so R.J. dislodged the candy by giving back thrusts, something that he had learned how to do as a boy scout.
R.J. overcame his fear of swimming in the lake to pass his swim test at summer camp. He learned how to cook scrambled eggs and developed a love for cooking breakfast and many other things in scouts that will serve him well in life.
For his Eagle Scout project, R.J. saw the need to paint the doors of the new wing at Theodore Lester Elementary School in Florence. These doors previously were never painted to match the other doors in the building. He stripped, sanded and painted 12 doors so they all match.
R.J. is the son of Rogers Mack and Kinda McInnis.
William McIntyre ‘Mac’ Malambri
William McIntyre “Mac” Malambri, 14, is an eighth-grader at Williams Middle School, learning in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. He was on the region-champion Academic Challenge Team in 2019, and he won his school’s Geography Bee.
Mac is a member of the Beta Club and a Junior Scholar, and he helped found the German and Journalism clubs at Williams. With an early interest in community engagement, politics and debate, Mac was elected by his peers at Williams as the Most Likely to Be President.
Mac has been very involved in his home church, Central United Methodist. He is a member of the youth handbell and vocal choirs. He serves on the Youth Council and gave five days this past Christmas break to improving homes in Florence through the Santahatchie project.
Mac’s scouting career began in first grade with Cub Scout Pack 28 at St. James UMC in Spartanburg. He then moved to Pack 475 at Central Methodist Church, Florence, in the second grade, ultimately being awarded the Arrow of Light in that pack. He has thrived in BSA Troop 477, enjoying the troop’s camaraderie. He has appreciated the encouragement to achieve rank advancement and particularly enjoyed the camping trips and weeks at Camp Coker.
He has fond memories of trips to Ark Lodge, H2O week and the numerous backpacking trips, including Pinnacle Mountain and the Wind River Range in Wyoming, where card-playing with some of the best views in the world made for an amazing experience. He looks forward to backpacking in Philmont this summer.
Mac’s firsts in Troop 477 include his first times snow skiing, water skiing and tomahawk throwing. He proved a natural with a tomahawk, winning second place in the Camp Coker competition. Mac was a patrol leader for one of the 1st Class patrols in 2018 and created an underutilized 1st Class Patrol Google Classroom for their benefit. Mac was elected into the Order of the Arrow in 2018. On his way toward the rank of Eagle Scout, Mac accumulated 34 merit badges and took in deeply the virtues that scouting aims to impart.
For his Eagle Scout project, he designed, led and brought to completion an outdoor classroom as part of the Farm-to-School program at Briggs Elementary School. This classroom includes eight benches and three sunshades.
Scouting has been a significant means to learn a variety of skills, serve the community in diverse ways and be influenced by excellent people. Mac and his family are grateful for his experiences with scouting thus far and those that are yet to come.
Mac is the son of Sally and Will Malambri and the older brother to Annagray. His devoted dog is Duke.
Ethan Haun McCown
Ethan McCown, 14, is a freshman at West Florence High School, where he plans to graduate, move on to a four-year college and major in pre-med. He is in the Beta club and plays JV soccer. He is also on the U-15 Florence Soccer Association travel team, which finished its season undefeated, qualifying for the state cup.
Ethan is very active in his church and family life. He participates in a variety of projects with Central United Methodist Church. Every year he participates in Santahatchie, rebuilding homes with his church the week after Christmas. In his junior and senior year, he plans to go to Costa Rica with his church for mission trips.
Ethan joined Troop 477 and became an active scout. While scouting, he has been fortunate to travel to various destinations. He has skied in North Carolina, hiked at Shoshone National Forest in Wyoming, hiked in the Appalachian Mountains and camped at Camp Coker. He also will attend the trip to the National Boy Scout Ranch in Philmont, New Mexico, with Troop 477 this summer. While scouting, Ethan has been the senior patrol leader, the assistant senior patrol leader and a member of the Order of the Arrow. He has earned many merit badges.
For Ethan’s Eagle Scout project, he re-landscaped the front of the Human Society. He spent numerous hours researching, designing, planning and finally getting his hands dirty. Ethan faced challenges but learned how to overcome them without giving up.
Ethan has been able to make many lifelong memories while scouting, thanks to friends, his parents and scoutmasters.
Ethan is the son of Drs. Sam and Heather McCown. He is the brother of Samuel, Sarah and Aidan McCown. Ethan joins his uncle Chad McCown (1977), his father, Sam (1982), and his brother Samuel (2015) as Eagle Scouts from Troop 477.
Taylor Robert Stokes
Taylor Stokes, 16, is a sophomore at South Florence High School, where he served this year as captain of the swim team. Taylor enjoys fishing, hunting, weight lifting, serving in church and cooking. Taylor has not completely decided on a career path.
Taylor is a member of South Florence Baptist Church, where he serves in several leadership positions. He is on the Student Core Team and leads worship for younger kids on Sunday evenings. He also serves on The Meal Committee and enjoys cooking for and serving members each Wednesday evening.
Taylor began scouting at the age of 3, attending meetings and participating in Cub Scout activities with his older brother. He was able to officially join Pack 477 in the first grade, where he completed the Tiger and Wolf ranks. He transferred to Pack 476 to complete the Bear and Webelos ranks. Taylor enjoyed Camp Coker, Pinewood Derby races, camping, earning belt loops and going on adventures during his Cub Scout years.
Taylor joined Troop 477 in the sixth grade. He has held several leadership positions. Taylor was elected into the Order of the Arrow. He has earned the One-Mile Swim Badge from Camp Coker, and he hiked 50 miles on the Appalachian Trail. Taylor has earned 26 merit badges.
For his Eagle Scout project, Taylor and a crew of volunteers refinished the floor of his church's youth building. This required removing 2 previous layers of flooring, resurfacing, staining and sealing the original concrete floor. For his project, he totaled more than 385 service hours.
Scouting has helped Taylor have a servant's heart for the community. He recently joined Howe Springs Fire Rescue as a Junior Volunteer Firefighter, and he plans to continue his service.
Taylor is the son of Brantley and Stephanie Stokes.