Surprise congratulations: Vice President offers Eagle Scout well wishes in person

A local Scout, along with his family and friends, received the thrill of a lifetime when Columbus native Vice President Mike Pence personally congratulated him on achieving an Eagle Scout ranking.

Pence, along with family members, arrived at the Columbus Municipal Airport on Air Force 2 Friday afternoon, for a private weekend visit.

But the vice president also included a meet and greet with Benjamin Beach, 18, Columbus, and his family and fellow Eagle Scouts at the airport just after arriving at about 3:30 p.m.

It was in response to a letter sent by Beach’s mother Phyllis Stahl, Columbus, in January with an invitation to Beach’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor, which is planned for this Sunday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

“Where’s this Ben Beach?” Pence said with a smile as he approached the Scouts group and their families who were gathered on the tarmac as the vice president arrived. “Where’s the mom who wrote the letter?”

After shaking Benjamin’s hand, the vice president noted that he was sorry he couldn’t make the official ceremony on Sunday, but since he was flying home to Columbus, he wanted to take the opportunity to congratulate him, and the other Eagle Scouts who attended. As Pence walked down the line of Scouts, he greeted each one by asking their name and introducing each to his wife Karen. Along the way he found some connections to the Pence family among them, which generated some laughter among the Scouts.

For more on this story, including more photos, see Saturday’s Republic.