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Similar in many ways to the Eagle rank of the Boy Scouts of America, Morgan Richey and Brady Moppin have completed the requirements for the coveted and highly respected Gold Medal of Achievement in the Royal Rangers.
Both young men attend the Lawson Assembly of God Church and are members of the Royal Rangers, a ministry of the Assemblies of God Church. A merit-driven scout group for boys, the trail to the Gold Medal of Achievement requires commitment, perseverance and goal setting. Long hours are spent in study, trial and error, and achievement as the various merit badges and hours of service to community and church are completed.
The GMA is the single highest award offered by the Royal Ranger Ministry. It is a medal of distinction and honor, and those that complete the stringent requirements to earn it are looked upon with the same type of respect as those young men who earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
The GMA recognition carries nearly the same ratio of those that earn this distinction as those that earn the Eagle. Since 1964, when the first GMA was awarded, less than one percent of all Royal Rangers earn this medal. Thus far, approximately 3,700 boys ages 12-17 have completed the requirements.
For Morgan and Brady, the trek has taken 11 years. Checkpoints along the way included numerous merits, training camps, leadership positions, written essays and many hours of church and community service.
They earned the Bronze Medal of Achievement in March of 2007, followed by the Silver Medal in Sept. 2007, but the climb was not yet finished. The peak remained.
Completing the renovation and cleanup of the horseshoe pits at Armour Park in Richmond was the final community service project. The finish line was in sight.
The boys removed the old fencing, cut and removed brush, mowed weeds and trimmed the area. The old dirt in the pits were replaced with sand. The stakes were repainted and the backdrops replaced or repaired. The work was accomplished with the help of Bradley, Paula and Nathan Richey, and Sam, Amy, Adam and Carl Moppin.
The Gold Medal of Achievement award has gained national recognition and the recipients are given such honors as guaranteed admission to any military academy in the nation as well as certificate of achievement from the National Royal Ranger commander, Governor, and the President of the United States.
Photo of men digging: Morgan Richey, left, helps put in a backstop at the horseshoe pits at Armour Park, located west of Richmond. Richey and Brady Moppin cleaned the area up, removing old fencing and brush, and redid the horseshoe pits with the help of their families. The service project helped the boys earn the coveted Gold Medal of Achievement in the Royal Rangers organization. This recognition is similar to the Boy Scout Eagle rank. (Photo by Paula Richey)