GENOA - When his two sons joined the local Cub Scouts, Todd Walker never thought about one, let alone both of them, becoming Eagle Scouts.
"They were so young, that never even crossed my mind," he admitted.
But that's what happened. Not only did Tyler and Andy Walker both earn Scouting's highest honor, they did it at the same time.
The teenagers, members of Troop 71 sponsored by the Masonic Temple in Genoa, completed their Eagle Scout projects, the final step in the process, last fall. As a result, Tyler received his Eagle Scout rank on Dec. 17 and Andy got his on Jan. 21. A Court of Honors ceremony for both boys was held March 16.
Tyler, 18, who just graduated from Genoa-Kingston High School, finished his project - beautifying Lions Park by clearing brush and picking up garbage - first.
"There was a lot of vandalism," he said. "We wanted to make (the park) a safer environment."
Two weeks later, Andy, 16, finished his project, landscaping around the 24-foot-long cement sign at St. John's Lutheran Church in Sycamore, where the family attends church. Tyler's project involved about 30 volunteers and Andy's used about 10 volunteers.
Andy, who came up with his idea first, said it took him about a year to complete his project - twice as long as Tyler.
"The hardest part was coordinating it and making sure everything went right," he said.
Although the brothers helped each other, there was a limit to how much they could do since, by nature, the Eagle Scout Project is an independent project. Although each was pulling for the other, the two admit there was a little friendly competition.
"I kind of wanted to beat Andy because he's two years younger, but he caught up," Tyler admitted. He has been in Boy Scouts for seven years; Andy, five.
"It kind of turned into a battle at the end," Scoutmaster Mark Lautenbach said, adding that it's unusual to have two brothers achieve Eagle Scout at the same time. "It's great. As a leader, I will say there is no better recognition of accomplishment."
Lautenbach added that it's a special feeling seeing youngsters enter Scouting, usually as fifth graders, and then watching them grow and use the skills they are taught.
Andy said earning Eagle Scout at the same time as his brother was "pretty cool."
"There was kind of a competition thing to it," he said. "That (the competition) kind of added another element to it. In our troop, we've had a few brothers earn Eagle Scout, but not at the same time. It was fun. It wasn't like a rivalry."
Since he turned 18, Tyler can no longer serve as a Scout, but he can help out as an assistant or a leader. His future plans include going to Kishwaukee College and possibly pursuing a career in law enforcement.
Andy can continue as a Boy Scout for two more years, though there is no higher rank to which he can advance. This summer, he plans to serve as a counselor at a seven-week Boy Scout camp near LaCrosse, Wis.
Todd Walker said he and his wife, Amy, are equally proud of both boys.