Special to 0-A News
From Walter Albritton, Senior Pastor Trinity UMC
For Sunday, Oct. 4, 1998


Matt O'Rielly to enter the Eagle Scout Brotherhood today

This afternoon an Eagle Scout Court of Honor will assemble to recognize another fine young man, Matt O'Rielly, as an Eagle Scout. Matt has fulfilled the difficult requirements so today's ceremony will celebrate his induction into the Eagle Scout Brotherhood.

Matt recently graduated from Opelika High School and is now attending Auburn University. In addition to being a good student, Matt played for the varsity football team, earning the approval of his coaches for his constant hard work and improvement. Head Coach Spence McCracken honored Matt by naming him of his student assistants during spring practice this year.

Today, before his mother Vickie, brother Tim, and other relatives and friends, Matt enter into a sacred covenant with other Eagle Scouts. He will promise to hold, without reservation, ever before him "the ideals of honor and service." His Scout Master will remind him that his entry into the Eagle Brotherhood "is not an end" to his commitment to the ideals of Scouting, but rather "the beginning of the commitment." He will repeat the Eagle Scout Oath before family members, leaders, and fellow scouts and acknowledge his acceptance of the challenge as he becomes an Eagle Scout. Matt will pledge, on his "sacred word of honor" his eternal loyalty to the code of Scouting. He will reaffirm his allegiance to the three promises of the Scout Oath by saying:

"I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself the obligations and responsibilities of an Eagle Scout. With the help of God, I will do my best to make my training an example. My influence and my opportunities strongly count for physical fitness, for wholesome character and for devoted citizenship, in Scouting, and in my community. To this I pledge my sacred honor."

This is no small commitment for a young man to make. But the truth is, our nation becomes a little stronger each time a fine young man like Matt takes this oath. Seldom does an Eagle Scout bring shame upon himself, his family, and his country. It does happen. But for the most part, Eagle Scouts bring honor to themselves and our nation. It has been my privilege to know Matt and his family since he was eight years old. I have watched him grow up. He has been responsive to the good guidance given him by his mother and his grandparents. He became a strong leader among the youth of his church, earning the trust and respect of his pastors and church leaders.

During the past 10 years Matt has been a special friend. He gave me the privilege of sharing with him many times, man to man. And not once was I unaware that our special relationship was a gift from God to me. Today I will have the honor of offering a few words of appreciation during the Court of Honor. I use the word "honor" because it is indeed an honor to have been asked to speak on this significant occasion in Matt's life. He is an unusual young man who will receive today a most unusual recognition.

Two very significant family members will not attend the Court of Honor today. Matt's father, Patrick O'Rielly, slipped away from the family when Matt and Tim were very young. He died of a heart attack one Saturday morning. The other missing person is George O'Rielly, Matt's grandfather, who passed away this year. But while they may not be seen at the Court of Honor, I have an idea Pat and George will be there. I have an idea they will be leaning over the balcony of heaven, joining in the applause when Matt becomes an Eagle Scout. I expect to hear them clapping, and whispering to Matt, "Congratulations Matt! We are so proud of you!!"

As long as there are splendid young men like Matt O'Rielly who are willing to take on the sacred oath of the Eagle Scouts, there is hope for America.

Congratulations, Matt! I am proud of you too!