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Student working on Eagle rank

Caleb Franz, second from the left, directs members of Boy Scout Troop 106 Friday as they work to replace the flagpole at the Lawrence County Juvenile Center. THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST JAMES

From the first time Caleb Franz saw an Eagle Scout ceremony, he has been dreaming of his own.

In about a month and a half, the 14-year-old will realize that dream of obtaining the highest rank in the Boy Scouts. It’s something he’s been working towards since he started in the Scouts in the first grade.

“There’s so much that I love about it,” Caleb said about the Scouts. “It’s my whole life. I just love it.”

One of Caleb’s favorite memories of his time with Troop 106 was a hiking trip to New Mexico last year. The troop hiked 22 miles with 20 to 35 pound backpacks in tow.

“That was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done,” Caleb said. “I’d never been west of the Mississippi. That was just amazing to go all the way out to New Mexico and I’m just 14. That was a life-altering experience for me.”

Caleb said the process of becoming an Eagle Scout has taken hard work.

“It’s not easy,” he said. “But I believe if (a person) had enough determination they could do it.”

All Eagle Scout candidates are required to organize and complete a community service project. Caleb chose to install a flagpole at the Lawrence County Juvenile Center, where his father works.

“I was looking at a paper that had past projects and someone did a flagpole,” Caleb said. “It’s patriotic. I found out the juvenile center needed one and decided to do it.”

A windstorm last year blew down the center’s pole. He is also doing landscape work around the flagpole.

Besides the physical labor, the project also required months of preparation. Caleb said he started organizing in December or January. A few adults and other Boy Scouts helped with it.

Caleb’s Eagle Scout ceremony is scheduled for May 14, which also happens to be the Ironton student’s 15th birthday.

“(It will be) a really memorable birthday party,” he said.

It will also be memorable for his parents.

“We’re really excited and proud of him,” Connie Franz said. “We’re really proud. He’s a good son.”