by Lisa Tome
Dylan Day found a way to serve two organizations at once.
Day, a 17-year-old college student, was looking to complete the requirements for Eagle Scout, Boy Scouting's highest award. He turned to North East Fire Company, another organization to which he belongs, to do just that.
Recently, just days before his looming 18th birthday, which is the deadline for scouts to complete their Eagle requirements, Day began work on his project, a 15-foot retaining wall and sign for Station 44 in Elk Neck.
He began planning for the project six months ago. He coordinated three on-site work days last week.
Funding the project was a challenge. Day sent out 18 letters requesting donations. He received two replies.
The sign he installed was store bought and cost $370.
Day was willing to fund the sign himself. Donations from Fire Chief John Hamilton and Elk Neck Veterinary Clinic helped pay for the sign. Day works at Heartwood Landscaping. That company and Benjamin Lumber also contributed materials to the project.
"It was discouraging with the businesses that didn't respond. The fire company provides a good service and this is something that the fire company really needs. I had to make do," he said.
He chose the project because the fire company substation is hidden from view. He wanted a sign to make the public aware that the station is there.
"The only way you can tell it's here, is when you see it. When the trees are in full foliage, you can't tell," said Day. "I knew I wanted to do something for the fire company and I wanted to do something that wasn't someone else's idea. I'm really tight on time. I'm turning 18 this week."
He said he learned a great deal while puttying his Eagle project together. Including: "Always have a plan b.", "Just because you think something is going to happen, doesn't mean it will.", and "If you start something, finish it."
"I took too much time deciding what I was going to do. I procrastinated, and now I'm paying for it," said Day.
He's been in scouting for nearly a dozen years and is a member of Troop 443.
Aside from scouts and the fire company, Day is working to earn a degree in fire science at Cecil College. He graduated from North East High School in June.
He hopes to be hired as a career firefighter. "A lot of people give respect to Eagle scouts. If you have it, you are more likely to get a job," added Day.