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Scouts honored: Cottage Grove triplets earn Eagle rank together

The Tschida triplets recently achieved Eagle Scout, the highest rank for Boy Scouts, after they completed community service work at their church. Seated (from left) are Tom and Joe; Dave is standing. Their grandmother has sewn every badge the boys have earned onto their uniforms. Bulletin photo by Judy Spooner

It's easy to tell them apart even though they're triplets with different interests, but the Tschida boys have something truly unique in common: together they were recently awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

The brothers, juniors at Park High School, last month achieved the highest rank in Boy Scouts during a ceremony at their church.

The Cottage Grove triplets' interest in scouting started early, when their father, John, took them to an informational meeting and they all joined up.

"We didn't plan for them to be Boy Scouts. They've tried a lot of things but scouting is what stuck," John said during an interview with his sons after their Eagle Scout ceremony.

Another thing the triplets have in common is they belong to Good Sheperd Lutheran Church in Inver Grove Heights, which sparked ideas for their Eagle Scout projects.

After talking to the man in charge of church maintenance, who had a long list of things that needed to be done, each of them chose a project.

Dave stained the wood on the front of the church and trimmed up the area around the landscaping.

Tom said the church installed a new furnace that was mounted on a concrete slab but could still be seen from the street in front of the church. He built a privacy fence.

Joe installed shelving in a Sunday school office that was a supply room. When it was finished, it looked more like an office, he said. There were shelves in the nursery that were covered with a curtain. Being a woodworker, he made doors for the shelves.

They have good memories about scouting experiences.

The triplets' participation in pinewood derby races, an annual Scout staple for generations, is best understood through Tom.

"Between the three of us we had one good car," he said, recalling that he decorated his car to honor former Timberwolves player Kevin Garnett. He said a wheel fell off one of cars on the way to the derby. "It had to go down the ramp backwards," he said.

The boys have their own interests outside of scouting.

Dave likes graphic design and has won contests for designing Scout badges including the badge for the 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree. Tom and Joe are full International Baccalaureate candidates at Park but Tom, the one with the greatest sense of humor, likes politics and plans to go to Harvard or Hamline University to study environmental science.

Joe, who spoke for the other two when they were younger, is thinking about California Technical University to study engineering. He's on the Park swim team, specializing in the 50-and 100-yard butterfly.

John said his son Joe, at a young age, asked for tools and not toys, has his own shop and is a fine woodworker.

"Dave is in band, Tom likes politics," Joe said. "I'm neutral."

They'll take away a wide variety of experiences from being in scouting.

"You meet people and try new things," Joe said, adding that scouting prepares you for the future.

"There's a zillion things on top of that," Tom said, "Plus, it's a lot of fun."

Judy Spooner
Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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