By Mary O’KEEFE
Crescenta Valley residents may take for granted the murals at local elementary schools or the memorial stone and historical sign at Crescenta Valley Park, formally Hindenburg Park.
The little gardens that are peppered throughout Crescenta Valley and even brush clearance are many times thanks to Boy Scout Eagle Scout projects. Boy Scouts create, organize and implement projects that highlight leadership skills and benefit their community.
“It is a two fold [project]. It provides [a] service for the community and teaches leadership to the scouts,” said Dede Mueller, Boy Scouts’ Foothill District Commissioner for the Verdugo Hills Council.
The Boy Scouts is a non-profit organization that survives solely on donations. Lately those funds are dwindling.
“It has been more difficult to raise funds,” Mueller acknowledged. But the value from those Eagle Scout projects throughout the area is immeasurable.
Mueller approves the jobs that many times would not be able to be done if not for the Eagle Scout project. Projects like those found at local schools where funds for extras, like gardens, are no longer available due to reduced budgets.
Keenan Shur is working on his Eagle Scout project at Rosemont Middle School. He and his crew of volunteers cleared the side of a hill that is directly outside the administrative offices. He then planted California native plants and used stonework to separate the rows of plants.
Shur not only had the community in mind when he designed his project but also had a personal reason.
“[Cynthia] Livingston was my principal at Fremont Elementary, now she is the principal here and I wanted her to have a nice garden to look out at,” Shur said. “I am looking at this beautiful garden. He remembered my favorite color is pink and the closest [flower to my window] is a pink plant,” Livingston said. “[It’s wonderful] to know you have made an impact and that someone would care.” That impact is what Eagle projects specialize in. Scout Michael Johnson created a play and rest area for sick and injured children at Mountain Avenue Elementary School. Both Shur and Johnson went to the schools and asked them for suggested projects. Scout Adam Fletcher found his project under overgrown vegetation in a forgotten area of Verdugo Hills Hospital parking lot.
One day as local veteran Jack Maison was leaving his doctor’s office in the lower parking lot of the hospital he noticed a plaque under vegetation. He discovered the plaque was there to honor Sgt. David S. Demmon who is listed as Missing In Action during the Vietnam War. Maison knew Fletcher was looking for an Eagle project and suggested that he bring the plaque back to the honor it deserved.
Fletcher and his team of volunteers began the project not knowing who Demmon was or even if his family was in the area. He learned that the soldier’s sister was a long time resident of Crescenta Valley. He also learned that Demmon’s aircraft was shot down somewhere over the U Minh forest in 1965. Bringing the plaque back to its former glory not only helped a community honor an MIA but also showed a family that their brother, and son, was not forgotten.
On Tuesday, Fletcher was awarded the Glenn A. and Melinda Adams National Eagle Scout Service Award at the Verdugo Hills Council-Boy Scouts of America.
The Eagle Scout projects have added to the community in many ways. In 2010 there were 79 Eagle projects from local scouts, and there have been 30 projects approved so far in 2011.
For those who would like to support the Boy Scouts do so by sending a donation to Verdugo Hills Council-Boy Scouts of America, 1325 Grandview Avenue, Glendale, CA 91201.