Pelican Rapids is well known for its Boy Scout program, with more than 100 Eagle Scouts passing through the ranks.
The milestone “100th Eagle” was observed with a Scout reunion in Pelican, two years ago.
Records of local boys earning their Eagle actually date all the way back to the 1920’s.
But as far as the “modern” history of local Boy Scouts, the first Eagle Scouts were Chet Nettestad and the late Jerry Hanson.
Pelican native Hanson, who died earlier this year, January 2018, carried on the Scouting tradition well into his adulthood.
We receive various newspaper clippings and other items from the Hanson estate courtesy his widow Kay, and Pelican classmate and fellow Eagle Jim Frazee.
Included in the items was a 1963 letter from then-Congressman Odin Langen, congratulating Hanson on earning his Eagle. He was the second Eagle since 1960, not long after Nettestad earned the first Eagle in Pelican’s modern Scouting history.
It was interesting to read in a July 1974 edition of the Verndale Sun that Jerry Hanson was among the leaders who revived the Scout Troop in Verndale, which had been disbanded in the 1940’s.
Jerry was a career teacher in Verndale where he taught English, directed school plays, and was involved with sports teams. He also served in the Army and the Minnesota Army National Guard. He and his wife, Kay, retired to Brooklyn Center.
Jim Frazee, who has the distinction of being the third Eagle, earning Scouting’s highest honor in 1968, is considering a memorial to Hanson.
“I really admire him,” said Frazee, who recalls that it was Jerry’s father, Jasper Hanson, who presented him with his Eagle 50 years ago. “Jasper did so much for the Pelican Rapids Community.”
Chet’s father, Chester Sr., along with Jasper Hanson and others, were among the early Scout leaders in Pelican.
The legacy of Boy Scouting in the Pelican area is visible everywhere, including enumerable civic projects, beautification, tree-planting and other permanent features.
A Scout Troop with more than 100 Eagles in a half century is highly unusual, especially in a rural community.
The active role of Scouts–both Boy and Girl–was on proud display May 26, during the Memorial Day program in Pelican. Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were front and center during the observances.