Paving his way to Eagle Scout

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Davisson wants improve the veterans cemetery and achieve Boy Scout of America’s highest rank while in middle school

Luke Davisson has twin goals – to help improve the veterans section of the Woodlawn Cemetery and, in the process, become the first Eagle Scout in Ironton Middle School and possibly, the youngest scout in Lawrence County history.

Davisson, an eighth grader at Ironton Middle School and a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 106 in Ironton, had the idea to put a paver brick walkway, which will go from the mausoleum and go up the knoll to the space in the cemetery with the monuments, the flags and the cannon.

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“The main concern is to help people with wheelchairs and walkers and people with walking disabilities to have easier access to flagpoles and the monuments and the gravestones,” he said. “It is 180-foot-long by 5 foot wide. Takes eight yards on concrete and around 4,000 bricks. The estimated cost is over $10,000.” 

His goal is to have the walkway installed by Memorial Day and all the activities associated with the holiday in Ironton.

It’s been a long project. First, Davisson had to get permission from the Lawrence County Veterans Commission, which controls the veterans cemetery and his father, Len Davisson, oversaw the fundraising because scouts aren’t allowed to ask for donations to buy the pavers.

Len Davisson said that if the project is completed before his school gets out of school for the summer, “he will be first Eagle Scout at Ironton Middle School,” and possibly, the youngest in Lawrence County.

“There were a couple that were 14 when they obtained Eagle Scout, but they were freshman in high school,” Len Davisson said.

Davisson inspiration for the project was a fellow Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout project in 2021.

“One of my great buddies, Matthew Heighton, decided he was going to do something for the veterans section, he put in seven new flag poles for every branch of the military,” Davisson said, adding that when Heighton’s project was completed, he heard veterans talk about putting in a walkway. “Ever since I heard that, I wanted to put in a walkway to contribute and to keep the legacy going and showing that we support the veteran community.”

Troop 106 attends and participates many veteran events in the area including Navy Night, Wreaths Across America and the Veterans Memorial Service.

Davisson’s goal was to raise $8,500.

“We have reached that goal in terms of money for the materials, but I would like to sell more bricks to continue to fill the walkway,” Davisson said. “The project will never really be concluded. I will finish my part, but people will still be able to order bricks and we will continue until the walkway is filled completely.”

Tim Carpenter, the Lawrence County Veteran’s Service officer, called the project “amazing.”

A couple of years ago, Carpenter was given permission by the Lawrence County Commissioners to maintain the cemetery and it has been his goal to help improve the appearance of the veterans plot, which has included adding elevated grave markers, getting the 75-mm artillery cannon repainted by the Collins Career Technical Center’s Ramtech class and working with scouts to do the flag poles and the walkway.

“I told the commissioners that I had the intentions of making the veterans cemetery a point of pride for the county,” Carpenter said. “And, with the help of the Boy Scouts, it has come along faster than I thought it would. It has just been amazing the help they have given me and the work they have done, I and the veterans commission are just in awe and proud of them helping us out.”

There are different levels of donations. For $80, a citizen supporter could get a 4”x8” brick with 20 characters on it. For $40, 4”x8” brick has the name of veteran and their branch of the military. Businesses could purchase an 8”x8” brick for $500 with the name of the company or family name and a logo or other information.

If you would like to buy a commemorative paver, call Les Davisson at 704-646-2415.