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Two teens bring best to Scouting

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Two teens bring best to Scouting

 

 

 

February 11, 2002

 

Maurice Cooper stands 6 feet tall. Leo Trippett Jr. may notch all of 5 feet 6 inches.

 

But Mutt and Jeff, these two certainly are not.

 

They are the pride and joy of South San Diego's Skyline community and Boy Scout Troop 425.

 

They were guide and beat of the troop's stylish honor guard that, for nearly a decade until it was discontinued last year, brought crowds to their feet and conversations to a halt at high-profile events around the county.

 

 

 

CHARLIE NEUMAN / Union-Tribune

Eagle Scouts Maurice Cooper (right) and Leo Trippett Jr.

 

Trippett was the drummer; Cooper handled the guard's flag.

 

And along with the team's two other members, they'd perform with such soulful flair and precision that, invariably, audiences would wonder: "Was that really the Boy Scouts?"

 

Now Cooper and Trippett are at it again.

 

They've become the first two Scouts in their troop's dozen years to earn Eagle Scout badges, the Boy Scouts' highest and most coveted award, honoring extraordinary stick-to-itiveness and sacrifice for the greater good.

 

The two lifelong pals are jumping into the adult experience with zeal and confidence that makes some folks muse: "Are they only 18?"

 

They credit the Scouts and spirituality.

 

Says Cooper, recalling a day at school when he stepped up and mediated a dispute between two friends: "Scouting teaches us how to use good Christian principles to be effective leaders. And I was able to make those (two friends) see how silly it was for them to be arguing."

 

From the pews behind the doors at 61st and Division Church of Christ to the halls of Lincoln and University City high schools, he and Trippett own reputations as stand-up leaders and role models. But they've made their shares of mistakes, such as when each, on separate occasions, hit schoolboy slumps and needed some stern and sage parental counseling to re-energize them.

 

Even then, however, neither one would pass the buck. And Trippett will tell you that he and his buddy never really had room to walk in any other manner.

 

Their parents, who were the catalysts behind establishment of Troop 425 a dozen years ago, remain firmly rooted in the church and in Scouting, even now that their sons have graduated from boys to men.

 

Young Trippett notes that now he juggles family demands and a part-time job with schooling at ITT Technical Institute and long-time visions of becoming a computer engineer.

 

And, says he: "We were always taught to take responsibility. Now as an adult, I'm starting to see how much that means."

 

Pal Cooper is getting his first taste of the grown-up world in the Air Force.

 

He left for basic training in San Antonio last week and harbors no doubt that he'll achieve his goal of becoming an officer, well-schooled in computer science.

 

"I've been trained well," he assured friends and family before catching his flight out.

 

Cooper had known for a long time during his high school senior year that he wanted a career in the military.

 

After all, his father, Roger, the troop's spiritual adviser, is a retired Marine drill sergeant and veteran of the Gulf War. His mother, Vivienne, was also a sergeant in the Air Force.

 

Young Maurice says he arrived at his decision after many long heart-to-hearts with his elders, who always stressed that his choice of service branches was "entirely up to him."

 

But in the end, his mother said she was relieved by his decision. And with a smile, he re-emphasizes that his Boy Scouts experience also taught him diplomacy.

 

He and Trippett also see themselves working in roles that help improve the lives of those around them, wherever they may choose to take up their stands as adults.

 

It's like with the honor guard, they'll tell you: Whenever they'd wow an audience, they were reassured that all of the practice, all of the work was well invested and helped them to touch others.

 

That's a source of great personal joy, they say, because that's what they've been trained to do. And they want to keep honoring that.

 

 

http://www.newsindex.com/cgi-bin/resulttick.cgi?http://www.uniontrib.com/news/features/20020211-9999_1c11ozzie.html

 

 

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