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The City Journals

Eagles nest: Cottonwood Heights teen joins 11 brothers as 12th eagle scout

Jun 04, 2019 02:24PM ● By Josh Wood

Isaiah Clark organized a tree planting for his Eagle Scout project. (Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Clark)

By Joshua Wood | [email protected]

When Isaiah Clark was awarded his eagle, he became the 12th of his family to earn the scouting honor. That doesn’t include grandfathers, cousins and uncles; just Isaiah and his 11 brothers. That’s right, 12 brothers in the same family are Eagle Scouts.

The Clark family resides in Cottonwood Heights, and all but the first three attended their scout meetings in the area. The others participated as part of a Japanese-American ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That’s another remarkable thing about the 12 Clark brothers — they are all adopted, as are their nine sisters. The boys range in age from Isaiah at 17 to Donald, who is 51.

Their proud father, Scott Clark, helped each boy along the way, but he insists that the credit belongs to the boys. “It’s not my accomplishment; it’s theirs,” Scott said. “It’s one of the most positive achievements, and they all recognized that.”

The range of projects the Clark brothers have organized to become Eagle Scouts is also astounding. Isaiah organized a tree planting, while one of his brothers helped make a street safer for drivers by painting the curb and barriers and putting up reflectors on a dark bend in the road. In a similar project, another Clark brother helped install a traffic sign and crosswalk to make a school bus stop safer and more visible.

“It was stressful, but in the end it was worth it,” Isaiah said. “One of the things that motivated me most was my dad.”

The eagle projects ranged from personal to global in scale. Aaron Clark’s project involved installing a gate and wheelchair ramp so a neighbor wouldn’t have to travel around the block to get to church each Sunday. Meanwhile, Zachary Clark, who was adopted from Korea, organized a vitamin drive for North Korea during a famine in the country. In the end, he collected over 2,000 pounds of vitamins worth over $30,000 to be airlifted to North Korea.

Christopher Clark was adopted from Bolivia. For his eagle project, he collected penicillin for orphanages in Bolivia. Back home in Cottonwood Heights, one of his brothers worked to clear trees from sidewalks in their surrounding neighborhood. For each project, whether close to home or shipping off to another continent, their adoptive parents, Scott and Mary Beth Clark, were there to help. 

“They’re not the dad’s or mom’s projects, but we were always involved,” Scott Clark said. “There wasn’t a project done without us.”

Having 12 Eagle Scouts in a single family is a huge accomplishment, even if the brothers are scattered too far geographically to get together to celebrate. For Scott Clark, though, it might seem like habit at this point. “Once we got rolling on it, it was good.”

Each project offered members of the Clark family the opportunity to do some good. Their father, who has done so much good to so many adopted children, was impressed by how thoughtful each project was. His sons got to make a difference in their communities, in the lives of individuals in need, and to help people on the other side of the world in dire need of assistance.

No matter how different the projects were, they all offered similar lessons. Patience was among those lessons, as Isaiah can attest. He worked for three years to finally get approval and everything in place for his tree planting project.

“I think one thing they learned is that sometimes it takes longer than they thought,” Scott said.