by Lisa Tome
The month of March ended pretty well for Brandon McMinn.
On March 30, after years of working towards the Eagle award, the highest honor in Boy Scouting, McMinn's Eagle Board of Review was held. He will be an official Eagle Scout in two months.
April hasn't been bad either.
Two days after the Eagle ceremony McMinn earned the 2016 Rookie of the Year award at Community Fire Company at Rising Sun.
McMinn, 18, is a busy teen.
He joined scouting when he was in elementary school and is currently active with Boy Scout Troop 143 at Hopewell. His Court of Honor where he will earn the Eagle will be held just a few days before he graduates in June. His Eagle project consisted of renovating an outdoor classroom, drainage work, and bench installation at North Bay Adventure Camp.
He started that project last October and finished a month later. Part of that project meant collecting donations. He collected far more than was needed. He donated the remainder to North Bay which they in turn gave to the scout troop. He said he is grateful to the organizations - local veterans groups and the Conowingo Lions Club for their support. During the project, which took 96 hours to complete, he oversaw a dozen volunteers.
Being named one of the fire company's two Rookies of the Year was a big honor," explained McMinn.
"I was pretty happy. I joined Water Witch Fire Company in 2014 and I'm still there. I joined Rising Sun in April 2016. Both my parents are paramedics. They both grew up in the firehouse. I have an interest in medicine and wanted to do something unique," he said.
He also serves on duty crews at both fire companies and has responded to more than 100 calls with Rising Sun. "I do have a lot of sleepless nights. I do duty crew at the firehouse. I'm pretty tired but it's totally worth it. The amount of hours I'm busy and away from home is worth it," he said. "It didn't take me long to get cleared as a provider (on the ambulance) because I was already an EMT. I also help with events and get along with everyone here. There's a great bond at the firehouse."
Since he's so busy, his parents Keith and Sandy, and sister, Samantha miss him. "They do get annoyed when I'm gone from home most of the weekend. I know that my grades come first and I have to keep my end of the deal. During the snow storm I was at the firehouse instead of at home shoveling," he said.
His mother also rides the ambulance with him at Rising Sun. Both his parents are members at Water Witch.
"My parents are really good teachers. I like running calls with my parents. It's great father, son, mother time. It's definitely good family bonding. Everybody thinks it's so cool that I run calls with my mother and they want to come too," he said.
In addition to the Eagle Scout and fire company awards, he also has a lot of other things going on. He keeps busy with his honors and advanced placement classes at Rising Sun High. He plays clarinet and was selected for All County Band. He's in the midst of rehearsals for that concert which will be held in May.
The Eagle award is not the only set of wings McMinn has worked toward. Since ninth grade he has been studying to earn his private pilot's license. He took the written test over the weekend. "I'm almost finished," he said.
He does other studying outside of school. In June 2015, after 165 hours of classroom and practical training, and six months of study, he earned his Emergency Medical Technician certification.
He is also an athlete. He's on the cross country team at Rising Sun High and is captain of the school's tennis team. He plays first singles.
"It's all very challenging. All this has taught me a lot about time management. I'm really busy all the time," he said. He also holds down a summer job as a lifeguard at North Bay.
McMinn will head to Penn State after graduation. He hopes to become a physician's assistant. He also plans to attend paramedic school.