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Bennett earns Eagle Scout rank

Hunter Bennett refuses to take credit for all 340 hours of community service that went toward his Eagle Scout project. That’s because he had help from friends, family and other volunteers throughout the process.

The leadership characteristics displayed in that effort are some of the many life skills learned by being a committed scout.

“[Scouting] has taught me to be a better leader, how to interact with people in public, and how to work together in a group,” said Bennett, a Chilton County High School senior who officially became an Eagle on June 30.

To borrow from the Marines, you could call Bennett one of the few and proud. Only 2 percent of young men who enter Boy Scouts earn the Eagle rank — a title that is held for life.

A minimum of 21 badges is required, 11 of which are specific to becoming an Eagle Scout. Bennett has 32.

“A lot of them require a lot of hard work,” he said.

For example, the Personal Management Badge involves budgeting, keeping up with taxes and other money matters.

But the most involved step is the Eagle project, which must benefit the scout’s home community through a minimum 100 hours. For his project, Bennett chose to clean up the historic Mullins Cemetery in northeast Chilton County.

His grandparents had owned land adjacent to the cemetery, which he often visited as a young boy.

“I’ve always known that cemetery since I was young, seeing that cemetery with my grandparents,” he said.

With help from the Chilton Cemetery Association, many volunteers and local businesses, Bennett was able to raise $2,000 toward restoring the historic site.

He was also instrumental in applying for a historical marker that now stands on the site.

“Hunter’s entire family is very proud of him,” said mother Susan Bennett.

Especially proud is his father, Craig, who served an important role in his son’s experience as a scout leader for Troop 259.

Bennett’s 7-year-old brother, Harrison, just became a Tiger Cub and wants to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Bennett also has a 16-year-old brother, Heath.

He plans to attend Faulkner University in Montgomery on a scholarship and study sports management.