The American Legion National Americanism Commission announced Wednesday that 17-year-old Robert B. Rasmussen from Hutchinson, Minn., is The American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year for 2011. An Eagle Scout since 2006, Rasmussen will receive a $10,000 college scholarship.
The honorable award recognizes Rasmussen's practical citizenship at school, scouting and his commitment to community service. His project included planning, building and establishing 32 Purple Martin (the largest North American bird) habitats throughout his community. Rasmussen first worked closely alongside the community's parks department to identify suitable locations for the 32 bird homes, then he contacted local businesses for material donations to build each one. Once each Purple Martin home was completed, Rasmussen teamed up with conservation-area personnel to hang them in area parks.
Rasmussen's passion and commitment to community service continued with another project involving war veterans. With the help of donations from a local cement company, Rasmussen spent two summers making more than 700 8-by-12 concrete markers that featured a star-shaped bronze marker and an insert to hold a U.S. flag. The concrete markers were placed at unmarked veteran graves in a local cemetery, where he too alphabetically updated the list of veterans buried there. Rasmussen also listed the veterans by the war they served in and created a walking tour of the cemetery to help visitors find their loved ones.
Rasmussen, an honor roll student, has been on the math team since seventh grade, and he too currently participates in student council, Key Club, Link Crew and the National Honor Society. Rasmussen is active in band and choir, plays varsity football as a quarterback and is a five-year varsity wrestling and tennis player. Additionally, Rasmussen was honored this past February as one of 24 Minnesota high school juniors to be nominated for the Minnesota State High School League's ExCEL Award, which recognizes students for their excellence in community, education and leadership. Upon graduation, the Hutchinson High School junior hopes to pursue a psychology or law degree at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
The American Legion also awarded a $2,500 scholarship to John William "Reeves" Caldwell of Thousand Oaks, Calif.; Bradley William Garr of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and Baylor Mackenzie Dickerson of Ashland, Va. But as the official American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year, Rasmussen will join other Legion youth champions during the 93rd Annual National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., August 26-30.
Nominate someone for The American Legion Eagle Scout of the Year by clicking here  to download the form.