Senior has earned the rank of Eagle Scout

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

High school senior Ruben Saenz Hinojosa, 17, has joined the ranks of famous people such as former U.S. president Gerald R. Ford, billionaire businessman H. Ross Perot, former senator Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr., Olympian Willie Banks and Apollo astronaut James A. Lovell Jr.

They all earned Eagle Scout status.

"It's humbling because they are great men and I am in great company," Ruben said. "I'm glad to be in company of those men, knowing they were Eagles and went on to do great things."

Ruben was recently recognized as Eagle Scout of the Gerald R. Ford Class of 2007.

Eagle Scout status carries a special significance in scouting and the distinction follows those that earn it through their higher education, business or industry and community service.

Ruben plans to attend Texas A&M University after graduating and pursue a degree in animal science to become a veterinarian.

The award is a performance-based achievement, the standards of which have been maintained for almost a century.

Ruben is one of only about four percent of all Boy Scouts who earn an Eagle Scout rank. This represents more than 1.7 million Boy Scouts who have earned the rank since 1912. The goals of scouting are to instill citizenship training, character development and personal fitness in all Scouts, whether they attain the Eagle Scout rank.

Ruben said when he started in the Boy Scouts as a seventh-grade student, he wanted to experience the outdoors. He is in Boy Scout Troop 270 of the South Texas Council. Ruben's Scout Master is his uncle, Frank Hinojosa.

"I've always been an outdoor person, hunting and fishing, so I thought I might as well join a club that (promotes) the outdoors and nature," he said.

To earn the Eagle Scout rank, the highest advancement rank in scouting, a Boy Scout must fulfill requirements in the areas of leadership, service and outdoor skills. Although many options are available to demonstrate proficiency in these areas, a number of specific skills are required to advance through the ranks, which are Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. To advance, a Boy Scout must pass specific tests that are organized by requirements and merit badges.

During the time he was deciding on his Eagle Scout project, Ruben said he lost his 75-year-old grandfather. That was when he got closer to his faith and wanted to do a project that would benefit Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. He decided to improve the parking lot area of the church and re-stripe the parking spaces and handicap zones. Ruben said one of his great mentors was his grandfather.

"I have to say my grandfather because he and his two brothers started a company from scratch and they got it going and made it successful," he said. "And I can do it, too, put my mind in whatever I want to. I always followed their example."

Hinojosa is the son of Florencio and Wilma Hinojosa. He has two brothers, Preston, 10, and 23-year-old Florencio Hinojosa V, who is currently serving in the military in Iraq.

He will be recognized at the National Court of Honor for his achievement as Eagle Scout today at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church's Mary Dinn Reynolds Hall on 111 N. Adams Street, followed by a reception.

Ruben said the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" is a virtue he will keep with him in everyday living.

"It has taught me to be prepared and to always expect the unexpected," he said. "Gilbert Solis, the assistant scout master, would say, 'adapt, improvise and overcome.'"