Four Chilton County boys receive Eagle Scout titleBy Emily Reed Published 6:12pm Friday, June 20, 2014
Fewer than 2 percent of all young men who enter Scouting earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
This year, four boys from Chilton County received the Eagle Scout title from Boy Scout Troop No. 747, becoming the first four to receive the title in the North Chilton Troop.
“I joined Scouts when I was 7 and I have learned more than I ever thought I would,” Trevor Cofer said. “It takes a lot of time and commitment, but it is worth it.”
Cofer gathered alongside friends and fellow Scouts Austin Liveoak, Elijah English and Dylan Sadler earlier this week to talk about the projects that were completed and finished before three of the four boys leave this summer for college.
“Scouts is a leadership program,” Cheryl English with Scout Troop No. 747 said. “It prepares you for life. These boys will now be going forth in the community and the world and share their leadership experiences.”
The Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
Requirements for the honor and rank include earning at least 21 merit badges and completing a service project that the Scouts plan, organize, lead and manage.
“The boys learned that an Eagle is not something you accomplish, an Eagle is something you become,” English said. “You may receive the badge as a boy, but you earn it as a man.”
Cofer graduated in May from Isabella High School and earned his title of Eagle Scout during his senior year after working to restore the Old Raspberry Family Cemetery in Chilton County’s Mulberry-Isabella community.
Cofer came up with the idea to restore the cemetery after growing up in the area and noticing that the cemetery was hidden deep in the woods.
“If you didn’t know about the cemetery you most likely would not have ever seen it because it was so covered by trees and stuff,” Cofer said. “I knew I needed to come up with a project to become an Eagle Scout, so I got help from a man named Benny Harris, who told me he was an Eagle Scout as well and told me he would help me. We talked about it and liked the idea and were able to restore the cemetery.”
Cofer contacted the landowner for permission to re-define the perimeter of the cemetery, removed trees and repaired grave markers.
“The project took a forest in the cemetery to a cemetery in the forest,” Cofer said. “I didn’t know how much work it would take, but it was something that I really enjoyed.”
There were roughly 499 volunteer hours put into the project from all of the scouts who are required to help one another with their projects.
Cofer said some interesting things he learned while completing the project included locating five Confederate veterans buried in the cemetery with the oldest grave marker being 1843 and the newest grave marker dated 1904.
Liveoak graduated in May from Thorsby High School and worked to re-paint 183 fire hydrants in the city of Jemison.
“I definitely didn’t know how long it would take or how much time and effort would be involved in scraping the old paint off of the hydrants,” Liveoak said. “It was rewarding but required a lot of work.”
Liveoak got the idea to paint the hydrants after needing an idea for his Eagle Scout project and speaking with Jemison Fire Chief John Dennis who attends Liveoak’s church.
“I asked Chief Dennis if there was something the city might need some help on, and he mentioned to me about the fire hydrants needing to be re-painted,” Liveoak said.
Liveoak said the project first started with him and Cofer meeting each day after school to spend time working on the hydrants.
“We quickly learned that one fire hydrant was a three-person job,” Liveoak said. “You have to clean them off, scrape off the old paint and then paint a new coat on. We also uncovered some crazy stuff like one fire hydrant that was located in a small jungle. We found some fire hydrants the fire department didn’t even know about.”
Liveoak’s project took about 192 hours.
“I don’t think going into it we knew about how much work would be involved but we had a lot of fun doing it,” Liveoak said. “Each fire hydrant was painted yellow but the tops of the fire hydrants had to be painted different colors because different fire departments have to know what color so they can pump their dials.”
English graduated from Jemison High School in May and created a memorial built near the Jemison Police Department to honor Josh Newman (a police officer who was killed while on duty) and dedicated to the men and women who protect the community.
English said he wanted to do something for the public servants in the community.
“I don’t feel like they are thanked enough for what they do,” English said. “I met with the city council and Jemison Police Department and we worked to put this project in place. The thing with my project is it was during the winter months of this year when temperatures were so cold and one of the things that held us up was the fact the stone for the memorial couldn’t be cut until temperatures warmed up.”
At the Eagle Scout ceremony honoring English, all but four of the police officers with the Jemison Police Department attended the ceremony.
“The memorial really impacted them, and they all told me they were really grateful for it,” English said. “We had a total of 109 work hours spent on the project.”
Sadler, the youngest of the four boys, will be a junior at Jemison High School in the fall. He worked to complete his Eagle Scout Project by constructing a pathway from the lake to the front headquarters at Minooka Park.
“We started in May 2013, and we ended up working all summer on the project,” Sadler said. “Mine was more spread out because we had to dig holes for the plank coming off the original rock. We actually had to dig through concrete.”
Now, visitors to the park can walk along the flight of stairs leading to a gravel footpath from the office at Minooka Park to the lake.
“Previously, there was just a really steep hill that people had to walk down,” Sadler said. “When we finished the project there was an elderly couple who was at the park who actually commented to us that it was a lot easier for them to walk to the lake.”
Sadler had roughly 420 hours dedicated to his project.
John English was Scoutmaster for Troop No. 747 with Rick Cofer, Terry Liveoak and Barry Sadler serving as leaders of the troop.
“These boys went above and beyond the call for their community, and I am very proud of them,” John English said.
All of the boys have been friends since a young age and will now part ways as everyone but Sadler will leave for college.
As the four gathered around a table piled high with scrapbooks of countless scouting trips and recalled different memories throughout the years, English asked them to explain the Boy Scout law, to which all four said in unison:
“A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, clean, brave and reverent.”
English said one thing the boys learned was the Boy Scout Oath that says “on my honor.”
“I always told them that honor is something no one can give you, and if you have it, no one can take it away from you,” English said with tears in her eyes. “All of these boys are honorable and upstanding citizens for our community, and we are very proud of them.”