Bulldogs get their wings

Front, Gray Creed, Jack Swinson, John Norcross, Davis Hodge; back: Pete Woodall, Trent Newton, Christian Glover, Noah Althuis

Front, Gray Creed, Jack Swinson, John Norcross, Davis Hodge; back: Pete Woodall, Trent Newton, Christian Glover, Noah Althuis

Bolles students earn Eagle Scout rank

Boy Scout Troop 2, which meets at St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Avondale and is one of the first chartered troops in Florida, has promoted eight young men, many of whom are Bolles Bulldogs, to the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

This year, eight Bolles students have met, or are working toward the completion of, their Eagle Scout distinction. Those students include Gray Creed, Noah Althuis, Pete Woodall, Davis Hodge, Jack Swinson, Trent Newton, John Norcross, and Christian Glover.

Creed’s Eagle Scout project, completed last May, was the construction of a chicken coop for a backyard hen project at the Sanctuary on Eighth Street. With the help of 25 volunteers, Creed’s project took 110 hours of service; he raised $2,000 for the work and applied more than 50 hours to the project.

Althuis completed his Eagle Scout project for the Sulzbacher Center in downtown Jacksonville, refurbishing the waiting lobby of the men’s center, which was in need of a warm and welcoming place for visitors and residents to its men’s residence.

Swinson’s Eagle Scout project was completion of landscaping around a playground at Seamark Ranch, a safe home environment with Christian values for children whose parents cannot support them or have passed away. Swinson cleared the ground around the playground and secured landscaping timbers around the perimeter. He filled the playground with 875 cubic feet of mulch.

Hodge decided to build a boardwalk for the trails at the University of North Florida to patch up some of the muddy areas. “The trails are frequently used by the Bolles runners as well as many other schools and people in general,” Hodge explained. “I thought it would be a cool project relevant to me, which I would see in action every time we go on a run out there.”

After seeing a news segment featuring the KIPP Impact Middle School’s gardening project, Woodall raised money for materials and built four garden boxes with the help of Scout volunteers. According to a faculty member at KIPP, he “has tremendously helped our garden project by almost doubling the size of our garden and allowed the funds for the garden to be used for other materials.” In addition to making numerous visits to the school, Woodall met a faculty member from KIPP at Lowes to purchase materials and he then donated the remaining funds to the KIPP school.

Newton’s Eagle project was to build park benches along the 14.5-mile long Baldwin Rail-to-Trail path off Commonwealth Avenue. City officials with whom Newton consulted on the project said adding the benches would make the trail more user-friendly. Newton and the city worked together on a bench design and the locations where they would be installed along the trail. Newton raised about $1,200 for the purchase of materials and commenced with bench-building in late October.

Norcross planned and executed a four-day community service project totaling more than 165 community service hours with the help of 20 volunteers. The project included the construction of five trash can containers for Tillie K. Fowler Park, helping beautify the area and protect animal life by limiting their access to trash.

Glover will make and install wooden flower boxes to benefit non-ambulatory seniors at Brookdale Nursing Home in Jacksonville. As an associate last summer with Century Ambulance, Glover worked closely with several healthcare facilities including Brookdale. He recognized the therapeutic benefits of gardening and wanted to extend them to wheelchair-bound patients in nursing homes where he saw he could fill a gap.

“Needless to say, I am extremely proud of these young men, all of whom joined together in elementary school,” said John Glover, chair of the committee which oversees Troop 2, and Christian’s father. “To see them stick it out and achieve the Eagle rank in the face of innumerable challenges and distractions along the way is quite extraordinary! Their commitment to this goal – and to each other – has been wonderful to witness.”

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