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On my honor

Park updated through Eagle Scout project

A new coat of paint on the gazebo and new mulch underneath the playground give the Shane Jones Memorial Park at the corner of Eighth and Pleasant Streets in Ironton an updated look.

The updates are part of 17-year-old Ironton Boy Scout Troop 106 member and Rock Hill High School senior Matthew Williams’ project to become an Eagle Scout.

“My scout master came up to me and I asked him if he knew of any Eagle projects and he showed me this park,” Williams said. “We first power washed the gazebo and put down new mulch on Thursday. Now, we’re painting the gazebo.”

Williams, along with other members of the troop and its leaders were at the park Monday evening giving the gazebo its new coat of paint.

“After we started the project, we found out it was a troop leader’s wife who helped build the gazebo,” Williams said. “That was pretty cool.”

Williams said the idea for the project was conceived about two weeks ago, and not only does it benefit the community, but it also showcases his leadership skills.

“I think it’s important for each of these boys when they reach this point to grasp the rank of Eagle,” Dave Lucas, Ironton Boy Scout Troop 106 scoutmaster, said. “They learn to budget, organize a labor force, manage people and how to use and apply resources. But most importantly, they learn leadership. When I think back on all of the Eagle projects, the main thing is they learn how to be a leader.”

Lucas said that anyone completing a project to become an Eagle Scout completely “runs the show” for the project.

“Sometimes it’s hard for the adults because they want to get in there and do everything,” Lucas said. “But they need to just stay back and let the boy take charge of the project.”

Lucas said that although nationally, Boy Scouts is declining, Troop 106 continues to grow.

“A lot of troops have fallen by the wayside and failed, but ours continues to grow and we’re thankful for that,” Lucas said. “We want to thank Central Christian Church, our base sponsorship organization, for giving us a place to meet, keep our supplies and continuing to support us.”

Since becoming scoutmaster of the troop in 2004, Lucas said Williams becomes the 33rd troop member to try and become an Eagle Scout.

“Nationally, only about 2 percent of all Boy Scouts will go Eagle,” Lucas said. “In our organization, we’re at about 22 percent. We’re the oldest troop in our region still operating at 74 years old.”

Once Williams’ project is complete, he has to pass three boards of review to complete his mission of officially becoming an Eagle Scout.

The Shane Jones Memorial Park sits behind the Lawrence County ambulance garage and was opened last year and dedicated to Shane Jones, who died of cancer when he was 14, by the Ironton Port Authority, now part of the Lawrence County Port Authority.

On hand Monday to see Williams’ project was Shane’s father, Shawn Jones.

“I think it’s great that they dedicated this park last year, and now it’s part of an Eagle Scout project,” he said. “The park gets used a lot and I’m always seeing little kids playing here. It makes me very happy.”