Six brothers = half a dozen Eagle Scouts

By Joshua Dillen/Baker City Herald July 15, 2013 08:47 am

By Joshua Dillen

Baker City Herald

Being prepared is an understatement when referring to the six sons of James and Marjorie Kerns.

Boy Scouting is truly a family affair, as each of the couple’s sons has attained the rank of Eagle Scout after gaining the required 21 merit badges as required by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

Eli Kerns, 18, is the Kernses’ youngest son and the latest to receive the honor. He has followed in the footsteps of his older brothers: Dan, Adam, Aaron, Matthew and Nathan.

Adam Kerns remembers their childhood antics.

“I used to get a kick out of torturing (Eli). He’d do anything for a dollar, like hold a half pushup for 15 minutes,” Adam said. “He was tough enough to do it. It was cheap entertainment.”

Eli is soft spoken and articulate, like his father. Eli values the lessons learned from scouting.

“It’s a great opportunity and gets you involved and be a contributor to society,” Eli said.

The BSA requires scouts to complete a major community project before they become an Eagle Scout. The project must be helpful to the scout’s church school, or community. Eli organized a group of fellow scouts and painted the Eastern Oregon Museum in Haines for his project.

James is very proud of Eli what he has accomplished as a scout.

“He’s multifaceted. The scouting program is designed to teach our young men to become moral people,” James said, “and to be givers and leaders. It teaches them self confidence, faith in God and who they are.”

Marjorie, who teaches piano, beamed with pride as she said Eli received only one B in school. The rest of his grades were all A’s.

The Kernses are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. James said there is a strong connection with their church and scouting. Many of the male elders are called to become scoutmasters.

Eli is also an accomplished vocalist.

“I placed top tenor voice for Eastern Oregon high school students,” he said.

Art is also a passion of Eli’s. He received Best of Show for a piece he calls “Willow Creek.”  It depicts a buck deer with antlers that have several bluebirds perched on its antlers.

Matthew is a veterinarian at the Animal Clinic in Baker City and Eli’s current scoutmaster. Scouting influenced Matthew to become an animal doctor. When he was working on attaining his Vet Sciences merit badge, Matthew spent time with Dr. Mark Berthelsen, who is now his partner at the clinic.

Matthew said that scouting gives young men a sense of  “stick to-it-iveness.”

He also compared himself to his brothers.

“Eli is very accomplished and intelligent. All of my brothers are more intelligent than me,” said Matthew.

Jacob Bingham, a local rancher, was Eli’s scout master when was a first in the Boy Scouts. Bingham said Eli was very trustworthy, hard working and reliable.

Bingham also noted that how Eli was raised was exceptional.

“It takes a lot of parental support. He’s got a great set of parents. They like to push him to do good things,” Bingham said.

In September, Eli is heading to Santiago, Chile, for a two-year mission where he will learn Spanish and do work for his church.

All of the Kerns brothers have gone on missions,

After his mission in Santiago, Chile, Eli plans on pursuing higher education in dentistry or radiology.