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Ridgefield Teen Killed In Plane Crash Rose Quickly Through Scouting Ranks

Ryan Adams, who graduated from St. Luke's School in New Canaan, was an accomplished Boy Scout who earned the organization's highest award at age 13.
Ryan Adams, who graduated from St. Luke's School in New Canaan, was an accomplished Boy Scout who earned the organization's highest award at age 13. Photo Credit: Courtesy of St. Luke's School

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Rising to the Eagle Scout rank requires determination, leadership and years of work and focus. Ridgefield’s Ryan Adams made it look easy.

Adams, 18, died in a plane crash Sunday in New York with Carey Depuy, also a Ridgefield resident. They were both freshmen at Colgate University.

Adams achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 13. To earn the award, scouts have to meet a demanding list of criteria, including progression through five other ranks, earn 21 merit badges and serve six months in leadership positions. The key component is to plan, develop and give leadership to a service project for the community, a school or religious organization. Only about 6 percent of Boy Scouts earned the award in 2014. The average age for most boys who earn the award is 17.

One of Adams’ Scoutmasters, Keith Realander, said Adams built a fence and gravel walkway at the Shadow Lake baseball fields.Most Eagle Scout projects take about six months to complete.

“He was a very bright kid, very motivated and focused,’’ Realander said. “He was a class president in his first year at St. Luke’s. He was a big hockey player and loved to play. From a scouting standpoint, Ryan was the most technically accomplished Troop 76 Scout that I am aware of. He remained very active in the Troop after attaining the rank of Eagle and continued to earn merit badges and learn new skills right up to his 18th birthday when he aged out of Boy Scouts.

"He knew how to tie every knot, and what situations in which to use them. He took very seriously the responsibility of being prepared, which is what Scouting is all about. He was an extremely capable leader."

Adams was a well-rounded young man with a lot of interests. At St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, he played golf, hockey and squash, and ran cross country. He founded the Support Our Soldiers Club at St. Luke’s, and did a project as a senior at St. Luke’s where he researched emerging markets in Asia and Eastern Europe and performing financial analyses.

“He was very self-driven and motivated,’’ Realander said. “He had a sense of humor and he liked to take time out and play a round of golf with some friends. He had a lot of interests. There is absolutely no question he was going to be successful in life. He made smart decisions and good choices. He was an exceptional young man.”

The deaths of Adams, Depuy and Ryan Meegan, a UConn student who was killed in a car crash on Friday, took a heavy toll on the Ridgefield community in general and Realander in particular.

His two teenage children, Ethan and Julia, were teammates of all three students at some point during their childhood.

“It’s hard,’’ Realander said. “You never want your kids to have to experience pain. I lost my best friend, someone who I had known since Little League, earlier this year and they saw me go through that. I told them to remember the good times, the good things about those people and the fun that you had.

"I told them to be there to comfort their friends that are going through the same hard times. Sometimes it seems that people are taken far too soon."

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