Written by Patty Decker Tuesday, 19 June 2012 08:16
Justin’s only sibling, John Barr III, talked about how at age 3 his brother was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer which, by the time doctors detected it, had already attacked and infected 80 percent of his bone marrow.
“He battled cancer for two years,” John said, but it wasn’t without side effects.
While Justin has remained cancer-free for 13 years, he has had five or six surgeries to deal with the effects of cancer treatments.
In addition to Justin’s battle with cancer, John said, they also dealt with the tragedy of losing their dad.
“Our father was flying back and forth from South Dakota,” he said, after having worked at the Marion hospital prior to that.
On one of those flights, the gyrocopter their dad was flying was hit by a wind sheer causing it to crash. When it happened, Justin was 3 years old and John said he was 8.
Although John was also in scouting, he said he “fell out of it,” because it was at the same time he, his brother and mother, Caroline, were coping with everything that had happened.
“It really helped Justin when Garry Klose (stepfather) and our mother encouraged him to get back into scouting.”
Troop 102 Court of Honor
It was a proud moment for Justin and his family June 3 when more than 75 people witnessed the Eagle Scout presentation at the Marion Community Center.
In addition to his parents, other relatives and friends attending, Justin heard from Eagle Scouts and distinguished guests at the Marion Boy Scout Troop 102 Court of Honor ceremony.
One of those people included Pastor Larry King, who gave the invocation, and talked about aspects of Barr’s young life.
“I didn’t know a lot of Justin’s story, and now that I know it, it is more incredible yet,” he said. “Then when I got the call to be a part of this, I am just pretty proud. It is an honor to be here.”
As part of the ceremony, Life Scout Brian Hiebert and Star Scout Zach Fruechting presented John Wayne’s Scout Law.
According to Eagle Scout Brice Goebel, serving as the master of ceremony, in one of Wayne’s last public appearances, he gave his own interpretation of what the laws meant.
“Trouble is,” Wayne was quoted at the time, “we learn (the Scout Law) so young we sometimes don’t get all the understanding that goes with them.”
The Scout Law includes being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Eagle Scout project
Justin said it was suggested to him to construct a fire ring at Camp Maurer at Excelsior Springs, Mo. The camp, he said, is for children with cancer. Because they had to switch campsites because of low funding, the new campsite didn’t have a fire ring.
Another reason for wanting to do this project was because one of the campers who attended Camp Maurer for the past four years died of cancer.
“I went to the funeral after he had succumbed to cancer,” Justin said.
Camp Maurer, John said, is special to his brother, who has been a camper there and who continues to be involved with activities as a junior counselor.
Rep. Bob Brookens, also an Eagle Scout, asked all other Eagles in the audience to join him by standing.
“Justin, please notice there are a number of us standing in the audience and on this platform,” Brookens said.
“When I was 15,” he said, “I earned my Eagle badge and, like others today, I am an Eagle Scout. You will not ever be able to say you were (an Eagle), you will always be an Eagle Scout.”
As part of the ceremony, Brookens then asked Justin and the other Eagles to reaffirm their allegiance to the three promises of the Scout Oath—duty to God and country, duty to other people and duty to self.
Recognized by mayor
Scoutmaster Mike Fruechting, who made the Eagle Scout presentation, talked about a letter Justin received from the Marion City Council and Mayor Mary Olson congratulating him on his award.
“Your achievements set you apart from other scouts,” Olson’s letter read.
In welcoming Justin as the newest Eagle Scout, Fruechting reminded him that he now has “great responsibility.”
“The Scout Oath and Scout Law should take on new meaning to you; the motto and slogan take on a new urgency,” he said.
He explained to Justin that his first obligation is to live with honor.
“You are a marked man,” he told him. “A leader for good or ill. People will follow the example you set—give up anything before you give up reputation and your good name.”
After all the difficulties Justin endured and overcame, achieving the Eagle Award was not only a special day for him, but a proud moment for his family, John said.
In recognition of his father, John T. Barr Jr., who was a doctor of osteopathic medicine, the program included a special homage to him.
Justin’s merit badges included 12 required for the Eagle Award plus 17 more.
He is also an Ordeal member of the Order of the Arrow, which is a national honor society of Boy Scouts, according to information presented.
Following the ceremony, everyone was invited to a reception, complete with a simulated campsite, demonstrations and pictures of Justin’s camping experiences.