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Clay Carton achieved the rank of Eagle Scout last spring, joining his brothers Dylan Slattery, Clint Carton and Andrew Carton.

Becoming an Eagle Scout is recognized around the United States and the world as a milestone achievement.

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout takes hard work and perseverance. Scouts must earn 21 merit badges, serve at least six months in a leadership position, plan and complete an Eagle Project, attend a Scoutmasters’ Conference and pass a Board of Review.

While only 6.5% of Scouts attain the rank, one area family is proud that 100% of its four sons have reached the milestone.

When Clay Carton — the youngest son of Michelle Deutmeyer and Craig Carton — achieved the rank last spring, he joined brothers Dylan Slattery, Clint Carton and Andrew Carton as Eagle Scouts.

“I think it is pretty good to have one Eagle Scout, but to have all four is special,” said Deutmeyer.

In addition to being a proud father, Craig Carton has been a scout leader to all four boys.

“This makes me pretty proud. It was always my goal — actually the goal is to get every scout to be an Eagle Scout,” said Craig Carton. “When Dylan was in second grade I started going to meetings with him and in 2002 I took the Earlville troop over.”

The brothers have made quite an impact in the area with their Eagle Projects. Dylan Slattery started things with a butterfly garden in Earlville City Park in 2007.

“I added a butterfly garden to the new Earlville park to cover up a manhole in the middle of the park,” said Slattery. “Over 110 hours of labor went into the project along with financial support from Delhi Lumber and Ace Hardware in Dyersville.”

Clint Carton was the family’s next Eagle Scout, completing the requirements and his project in 2012.

“I knew I wanted to do something I was passionate about and something that would benefit the community,” said Clint Carton. “I was a wrestler and pretty into fitness, so I decided to contact the county to see if there was a way to develop fitness stations along the Heritage Trail similar to the ones you see in larger cities and towns.”

“One of the biggest challenges was limited access to the trail for power and water. It was tough but a lot of my fellow scouts and wrestling buddies helped out. We had over 300 hours of service,” Clint Carton said. “One of the coolest things for me was before we were even finished people were already using the equipment and telling us how much they enjoyed it. That was when I knew we had built something that would hopefully leave a real positive impact on the community.”

In July 2016, Andrew Carton became Eagle number three, and made improvements to soccer fields in Earlville.

“My Eagle Project was to set up seasonal soccer fields at Conrad Park in Earlville. This entailed setting out markers for separate fields as well as designing and building soccer goals,” Andrew said. “I did this during the summer of my senior year in June and July 2016.”

With family tradition on the line, there was little doubt Clay would be the fourth member of the family to reach scouting’s highest goal.

“Becoming an Eagle Scout is a grueling task because there is a lot of planning and paperwork involved,” Clay Carton said. “There are mandatory merit badges needed to achieve the rank. Being a part of Order of the Arrow and being a member of the ceremony crew helped me get even closer to my fellow scouts.

“For my project, I was originally going to clean around 30 tombstones or so at the Earlville Cemetery, but ended up doing around 60,” said Clay Carton. “I scrubbed the moss and grime off the tombstones so they were able to be read again.”

Becoming an Eagle Scout has been a rite of passage for all four.

“It was a pretty long process and to be completely honest, there were times I didn’t want to go through it all. There are certain things you have to learn and merit badges you have to take,” said Clint Carton. “As we learned more, we found ourselves in leadership positions where the younger scouts look up to us. I think that’s an important part of being an Eagle Scout. Anybody can go through the ranks and do the requirements if they put in the time, but to me an Eagle Scout is someone that goes beyond that.”

Most importantly, scouting is preparation for the challenges of everyday life, according to Slattery.

“There are mottoes scouts live by: ‘Be Prepared and Do a Good Turn Daily’,” he said. “I’ve found that scouting has helped me understand that being prepared doesn’t always mean you have the right tool for the job, but still finding a way to get it done. Survive for another day, learn from mistakes and continue to grow through whatever adversity life brings.

“Doing a good turn daily is all about reciprocation. When we focus on others and just lend a helping hand, it can make someone’s day. When we are there to help others, people will show up for you.”

The brothers have a love of the outdoors, and scouting has grown that appreciation.

“The best scouting memories were being able to go camping with my troop and having fun being outdoors together,” said Clay Carton. “Camp Klaus was definitely the highlight of my scout experience every year.”

“I was actively involved in scouting for over 13 years, including three years on staff at camp, so the memories go on forever,” Clint Carton said. “I think my favorite memories would be the outdoor trips we went on, from regular campouts to exploring the Boundary Waters and going on hiking trips.”

Young people considering scouting can take some practical advice from experienced and accomplished scouts.

”Many people believe you can’t play sports and be in scouts,” Slattery said. “I played four sports in high school at the varsity level and still got my Eagle Scout. With the right values, time management and work ethic, the only limits you face are the ones you put on yourself.”

“My advice for younger scouts would be to just stick with it if it is something you like to do," said Andrew Carton. “I know a lot of people quit because they didn’t like the thought of other people thinking of them as a Boy Scout, but I’ve bonded with so many people who are also Eagle Scouts and there is a sort of camaraderie.”