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Michael Cole organized two blood drives to earn the rank of Eagle in Boy Scouts. CONTRIBUTED

Michael Cole qualifies as Eagle by organizing blood drives

MADISON – Michael Cole focused on attaining the Eagle rank when he realized how close he was.

Michael had watched and helped his brother with his Eagle project. “I saw it was a lot of work. My brother had to lead others to help complete the project. Watching him helped me learn what worked and what not to do for my project,” Michael said.

Michael, 16, is a sophomore at St. John Paul II Catholic School.

He joined Scouts as a first-grader in Clarksville, Tenn. His family moved to Madison when he was in fifth grade. “After visiting different troops, we found the smaller troop of Madison United Methodist Troop 204 as the best fit for our family and most similar to the troop in (Tennessee),” Michael said.

“Scouts in Troop 204 were fun. I liked the activities and games. Although I was new to the area, it felt like I had a home right away with familiar parts of the Scouting program,” Michael said.

Michael’s favorite part of Scouting was camping out with new friends. “We had adventure activities, such as canoeing, caving, hiking, fishing and bike rides,” he said. He enjoyed games, campfire stories and jokes from adult leaders.

At each camp, Michael built relationships with fellow Scouts and troop leaders. “Each experience built memories. With more skills, I learned and, the more I knew about how to handle different and difficult situations, my confidence increased,” he said.

“Having my parents involved in the troop committee helped me. Adult leaders guided but left it to us Scouts to follow through on what needed to learn. This helped me stay focused,” Michael said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Michael learned that the Madison area was in emergency need of blood. “Everything was shut down. I wasn’t thinking much about moving forward on my Eagle project,” he said. However, he contacted LifeSouth Community Blood Centers, and, with Scout leadership, he discovered a blood drive’s safety requirements.

“LifeSouth volunteers and workers were very supportive and helpful,” Michael said. Observing COVID-19 protocols, Michael organized two blood drive buses and collected 42 pints of blood. Donors have told Michael that they’re continuing to give blood because his drive brought awareness of the constant need.

At John Paul II, he is enrolled in honors courses and participates in orchestra band as a trombonist for five years, marching band and Golf Team. He volunteers at church.

Michael’s troop will visit Florida’s Sea Base for a 10-day SCUBA diving trip in June. “Scouts have given me opportunities and situations to grow in ways I would have never experienced,” Michael said.

Michael’s parents are David and Melanie Cole. David is Medical Director for Huntsville Hospital’s Occupational Health Group and Troop 204 Scoutmaster. Melanie, a Licensed Professional Counselor, has worked as Professional School Counselor and mental health provider.

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