It was 1969 and the Vietnam War raged on with some 2.7 million Americans called overseas to fight a bloody battle against the Vietcong.
Bryan DuClos of Red Bud had been in the Prairie du Rocher Boy Scouts for about a year when his mom pulled him aside one day, letting him know a local boy had died in the war.
“It seemed like a lot of scouts, and especially Eagle Scouts, were surviving over there. And my mom told me, ‘Learn as much as you can because I can’t promise you that you won’t be called to serve,” Bryan recalled.
Bryan was never drafted into the military, but went on to obtain the Eagle Scout rank.
“Being an Eagle Scout has helped me fight the many battles I’ve faced in my life,” he added.
Today, his brother, Dion DuClos I of Burleson, Texas, and four other family members share that honor with him.
“I’m very proud,” is all that Bryan’s mom, Veda DuClos, wished to say of the feat.
Veda, who grew up in Waterloo, is a longtime Republic-Times subscriber and came to the office recently to brag of her relatives’ accomplishments.
The rest of the Eagle Scouts include Dion’s son, Dion DuClos II; Bryan’s sons, Ethan and Wyatt DuClos; and Gage Baldwin of Red Bud, Veda’s great-grandson.
Bryan served as the group’s spokesperson with his two sons away at college, Dion and his son being outside of the area, and Baldwin having other time commitments.
For his Eagle project, Bryan said he painted trash barrels and put them all over town in Prairie du Rocher, as there were none at the time.
Wyatt, who Bryan said was 15 or 16 when he became an Eagle Scout, made a handicap accessible ramp for one of the pavilions at Ratz Memorial City Park in Red Bud.
His older brother had done the same for a different pavilion at the park at the age of 14.
Bryan said Ethan went through the process in a hurry because he wanted to be part of the Order of the Arrow, a society in the scouts that carries the Scout Oath and Law throughout the country.
“I’m extremely proud,” Bryan said of his sons. “You watch them go through and experience it. You couldn’t ask for much more than to see them make it.”
Baldwin’s project, completed while Bryan was his scoutmaster, consisted of painting and repairing dugouts at the Red Bud Sports Complex. Dion II was the last of the six to receive his Eagle Scout rank in the summer of 2017.
As an Eagle Scout and a father, Bryan displays certain admirable qualities when it comes to serving others in the community. One of these qualities recently helped a young man in Red Bud, Alex Kawalec, determine his career trajectory.
“The dad had come to me and said, ‘I’m having trouble with my kid and I don’t know what to do,’” Bryan recalled. “I said, ‘Send him out to the shop and I’ll have some things for him to do.’
“He wasn’t a bad kid. This kid worked really well. So I told the dad, ‘You’ve got nothing to worry about. He’ll be fine.”
Still, the Red Bud man was unsure of his son’s future, and Bryan knew exactly how to help.
“I took him over to (Sparta Community Airport) and got him hooked up with a plane ride, and he met the operations guy and got a job there,” Bryan said. “Now he wants to be a fighter pilot and is heading over to do training in Mississippi.”
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Only four percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process.
Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and completing of an extensive service project.