For two straight weeks, Eagle Scout Nathan Valenti risked his life to fight wildfires stretching across several southwestern Montana cities.
Enduring 15-hour workdays in thick smoke and sweltering temperatures, containing the devastating fires was no simple feat – but with years of Scouting training behind him and his dad beside him – the flames didn’t stand a chance.
A rookie firefighter, Nathan recently completed a 40-hour firefighting course to be certified for the temporary federal job. He helped contain fires that burned an estimated 8,700 acres near Toston and 3,000 acres near Lincoln, Mont.
Nathan credits much of his wilderness training and know-how to Scouting. He says High-Adventure program experiences, along with numerous camping trips with his Troop, helped prepare him for braving such extreme conditions. He’s also a member of the Scouting’s honor society, the Order of the Arrow.
“Nathan’s Scouting career, especially his involvement with the Order of the Arrow, prepared him fully for this extreme high adventure,” explained Mike Valenti, Nathan’s dad and boss of the 20-man firefighting crew. “The outdoor skills he mastered and the commitment to service he adopted were key elements of his success.”
Scouting is a family affair for the Valentis. Mike and Nathan’s three brothers are all Eagle Scouts and Arrowmen.
Serving others is nothing new for this impressive Eagle. His mother, Amy Valenti, says he’s been passionate about doing good turns for much of his life and Scouting has reinforced that quality.
“Nathan keeps the Scout Oath close to his heart,” Amy said. “It is not something he just recited at his Scout meetings, but like our other three sons, he truly lives by it.”
“My parents raised me in a way to seek opportunities to help people who are in need,” shared Nathan. “Scouting fostered that lifestyle and is the reason why I was so excited to go fight a wildland fire this summer.”
A criminal justice major at Marymount University, Nathan hopes to turn his passion for serving others into a career. He plans to become a police officer after graduation.
“Fighting a fire was a just a taste to the type of career I am working so hard to have,” explained Nathan. “I was able to see firsthand how grateful a community was for my work and I wish to make this type of impact with my work for the rest of my life.”
Check out the gallery to the left to see more photos of Nathan from his fire-fighting experiences with his dad.