15-year-old chosen to lead parade

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

It is an honor that eludes most people their entire lives, yet one Ironton High School student and Boy Scout has achieved it at the young age of 15.

Zachary Taylor Jenkins will lead the procession of the 138th Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade. Jenkins has been chosen as the bugler for the parade and for the Woodland Cemetery service on Sunday. He also played at Thursday’s Navy Night service.

“I think it’s an honor to play with the veterans in the front of the parade,” he said. “In the past I’ve always marched with the scouts. This is quite an honor.”

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Martin “Marty” Smith was the bugler for the parade for many years. He died in July 2005.

Jenkins is used to setting a few “firsts.” He played the bugle for a flag raising ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 2001 — Ironton’s troop 106 was the first Boy Scout Troop to take part in a flag raising at the national cemetery. That made him the first Boy Scout bugler.

A Boy Scout since age nine, he took up the bugle a couple years later and quickly mastered the scouting calls.

“It just seemed to come naturally to him,” Zach’s father, Wendell, said.

Since then Zach has played bugle for funerals and for local events.

“Last year he played for the Memorial Day (5K) race,” his mother, Dianne, said. “He’s done several things like that.”

Scouting must have come naturally, too: He will likely earn his Eagle Scout status this year, right about the time he turns 16.

“I just like having fun,” Zach said of scouting. “I’ve made a lot of friends, been to a lot of places, met a lot of people.”

Troop 106 Scout leader Dave Lucas described Jenkins as a pleasant and disciplined young man.

“He has been very faithful to scouting and scouting ideals. His behavior and demeanor would make anyone proud. I’m glad to have him in my troop,” Lucas said.

Actually, Zach isn’t the only scout in his family: his parents became involved when he was younger and are Cub Scout leaders.

“You hear so much negative these days about kids and about people in general,” Wendell said. “Scouting teaches how to be good citizens, respect for others. “I can’t say enough good about it.”

His parents describe Zach as a “really good kid.”

“He’s never given us a minute’s problem,” Wendell said.

An “A” student, Jenkins was inducted last week into the Ironton High School math and Spanish honors organizations. After high school, he said he would like to attend Ohio State and perhaps play in the band. He is not sure what he wants to study but will likely lean toward a career in math or the sciences.

When he isn’t studying and scouting, Zach said he enjoys reading, scouting, hiking, camping, golf, tennis and riding bikes.

On parade day, Dad will need to walk the route with his cub scouts, but Mom has begged off just this one time, so she can watch her son be the man to lead the procession. It is his moment, and she isn’t going to miss it.

“This is a big honor,” she said. “We’re really proud of him.”