by Lisa Tome
Josh Schweers remembers his first encounter with an Eagle Scout.
Schweers was in kindergarten and the scout turned out to visit his class. Fast forward a dozen years and Schweers is about to earn his own Eagle and still remembers how impressed he was.
Schweers, 17, son of Susan and Lonnie Schweers of Perryville and a high school junior, has wrapped up the requirements for the Eagle award. His Board of Review is pending and then he'll accept the award at a formal ceremony.
He joined scouting about 11 years ago. He belonged to another troop but will finish up his scouting career with Hopewell Boy Scout 143 which is led by Scoutmaster Glenn Cook.
He prepared for his own Eagle project by helping three scouts in his own troop and another scout in his former group, Troop 144.
He started planning his Eagle project more than a year ago, in the summer of 2013. Schweers and his family attend Hopewell United Methodist Church which has long been the troop's sponsor. Schweers said a past church minister, Pastor Jay Bunting, asked Schweers to create new signs for the church.
He began to plan the project - creating an outline of the needed materials, gathering donations, and setting up work days. He also had to go through both the church and the Boy Scout Council to get approvals.
He said his project received a great deal of financial support. Local American Legion Posts and VFWs donated. As did the Sons of the American Legion, legion auxiliaries, Masonic Lodge, Lions Clubs and a local Plumbers and Steamfitter's Union. Schweers received so much financial support that he refunded some of the donations.
He set up four work days - spanning two weekends where signs would be made and placed both at the church and at the intersection of Tome Highway and Hopewell Road.
Schweers was able to plan for most anything, but he couldn't stop mother nature. One of his work days had to be held indoors due to rain. He and nearly a dozen volunteers - scouts, friends, and family worked at the scout hall. "It was a challenge. Typically, I am not the one giving orders. I follow orders. I did the best I could," he said. "I am not much of a carpentry worker."
About 90 hours of work went into the project. The signs are made from high tech PVC and are maintenance free. "I want to thank all my sponsors who donated," said Schweers.
He is grateful from what he has gotten while scouting.
He is also a member of the golf and corollary bowling teams at Perryville High. He is a triplet. His siblings are Krystle and Nicholas. He is the third Eagle Scout in his family. His great-grandfather and cousins have earned the Eagle award. He plans to attend college and study environmental science. He also plans to remain active in scouting.
Hopewell United Methodist Church has been the recipient of several Eagle Scout projects. The church's pavilion, playground, and handicapped access ramp are all past Eagle projects.