Scout’s Eagle Project bridges a gap at CHMS

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Joseph Leveque has been in scouting since he was 6 years old. Now, he is within reach of the pinnacle of Boy Scouting.

The Eagle Scout Award is the highest award presented to a Scout and it is not achieved without hard work, dedication and loyalty to the program that molds and shapes the lives of boys and young men.

Leveque joined Cub Scouts in first grade as a Tiger Cub and worked his way through the ranks of Cubs – Bobcat, Wolf, Bear and Webelos – and Boy Scouts – Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and now he’s on the Eagle Trail.

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Leveque has earned 23 merit badges on along the trail, some were not too difficult and time consuming. Others were.

“Forestry was my favorite badge, and Citizen in the Community was my least favorite,” Leveque said. “It took a long time and a lot of work to get that one.”

But each badge took him one step closer to the rank of Eagle. However, badge work is not all that is required of a Scout.

“You have to complete an Eagle Scout project and it has to be approved by the Council,” Leveque said. “My project was to build a bridge over the creek at Charles Henderson Middle School. There was one there already, but it was narrow and didn’t have any handrails. I wanted to build one that was safer and one that somebody in a wheelchair could use.”

Leveque presented his project to the Alabama-Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and it was approved.

Leveque had to find financing for the project and Hendrick’s Homecenter stepped to the plate with materials, CHMS with funding and Mary Kay Products with a fundraiser that helped with the needed dollars.

He enlisted the help of other Scouts in Troop 555 in Troy; his dad, John; a couple of other adult friends; and, of course, his mom, Diane.

The project was completed in about three weeks and the bridge was christenedMonday by the crossing of several bikers in Coach Forrest Lee’s bicycle safety class at CHMS. Leveque said Michael Bassett, coordinator, of driver education and transportation at the Alabama State Department of Education, donated 10 bicycle helmets to the CHMS bicycle safety program and 250 booklet titled, “From A to Z by Bike.”

CHMS Principal ChresalThreadgill said a new bridge was greatly needed because physical education students often have to cross the creek to another play area. “We needed a sturdy bridge with handrails and one that is handicapped accessible,” Threadgill said. “We are proud that Joseph thought of all these things when he was deciding on his Eagle Scout project.”

Leveque is a now a student at Charles Henderson High School, and Threadgill said he appreciates the fact that he remained aware of a need at CHMS.

“The bridge is safe for bikers to cross and Coach Lee will be able to utilize it with his bicycle safety program,” Threadgill said. “We thank all of those who contributed to the success of this project and especially Joseph.”

Leveque must go before a local board of review and then the Eagle Scout board of Review before being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout.

“I want to stay in Scouting after I get Eagle because I think that it’s important to help the younger Scouts the way the older Scouts helped me,” Leveque said. “Scouting is about leadership and now is my chance to lead.”