Carolina Forest High School senior Brandon Neuman’s family kept his special day a secret.
“I didn’t even know what was going on after we got to City Hall until the Mayor started reading the proclamation,” Neuman said. “It was a day I will never forget.”
Neuman was honored on March 30 in a ceremony with Conway Mayor Barbara Blain-Bellamy, where she issued a special proclamation honoring his achievement of not only earning the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America, but for what he went through to get there.
“Few can meet the level of dedication and workload required for this distinguished, honorable, and coveted designation that above all else, speaks to his abilities as a true leader,” the Mayor’s proclamation read.
On a whim, his parents decided to move Brandon and his younger brother to Myrtle Beach from Maryland to be closer to their grandparents, according to Brandon’s mom, Jennifer Neuman.
“We uprooted the kids – he was going into tenth grade and had just been elected class president,” Mrs. Neuman said.
Brandon Neuman jumped into his new surroundings with both feet, continuing his culinary hobby by becoming a cook at local eatery the Sneaky Beagle, as well as being accepted to the All-County Orchestra, and maintaining a nearly 5.0 GPA to receive the Palmetto Fellows scholarship.
He works nearly 30 hours a week at the restaurant to pay for his car and insurance, and to save for college.
“His strong work ethic, and an adult understanding of managing finances serve him well,” the Mayor’s proclamation read.
Mrs. Neuman said he was accepted into two culinary schools, but decided to stay close to home and study economics at Coastal Carolina University.
Starting over with a new scout troop was difficult, and a big Eagle Scout ceremony really wasn’t in the cards, she said, so they thought it would be fun to have the Mayor congratulate him.
“When she offered to do this whole thing, it was really great,” Mrs. Neuman said.
During the ceremony, Brandon’s grandfather surprised him by giving him his own Eagle Scout ring from 1965. His grandparents were in attendance, as well as his girlfriend of two years and her mother.
Another family member also surprised Brandon with congratulatory letters from senators and former presidents, as well as a meaningful letter from his Boy Scout leader back in Maryland that brought him to tears.
The Mayor shed a few tears as well.
“One of the most fulfilling things I get to do as mayor is to help celebrate somebody’s milestones and accomplishments,” Blain-Bellamy said. “It’s even more important to me when it has to do with our youth.”
At an age when people are so involved in self-discovery, and pulled in many different directions in terms of who they are and what they should be doing, Neuman has made impressive strides, she said.
“This young man who made a decision a long time ago about who he is, has shown incredibly well for many years,” Blain-Bellamy said. “To [celebrate] not only having been an exemplary student, musician, heavily involved in community activities, and making such strides with Boy Scouts of America, is one of the best afternoons I could have.”