On Sunday, Oct. 14, Miguel A. Holmes and Colby J. Johnson were honored with the presence of family, friends, Joel Barlow High School educators, Scouts and dignitaries, all of whom gathered to celebrate the young men’s Eagle Court of Honor.
For as long as Miguel and Colby have been friends, they have also been Scouts with a shared goal of attaining scouting’s highest rank, Eagle Scout. The Eagle Scout rank is reached by only 3% of all Boy Scouts.
The award is the culmination of years of work focused on mastering the skills and requirements needed to rise through six ranks prior to that of Eagle. In addition, scouts must earn a minimum of 21 merit badges and perform an Eagle Service Project. The Eagle project must be planned, funded and executed by the Scout and the volunteers that he gathers and directs. The project must have a clear, direct benefit for the Scout’s community.
At Sunday’s ceremony, First Selectman Natalie Ketcham praised Miguel’s project, saying, “Miguel’s Eagle project enhanced the Town of Redding Parade Path through garden design and 48 plantings of trees, shrubs, flowers, and bulbs, expanding the path by 20%. The efforts of Miguel, Dr. Georgina Scholl, president of the Redding Parade Path Committee, and many volunteers will benefit summer Concert-on-the Green attendees, all students who can utilize the garden as an outdoor laboratory, and all visitors to the town green.”
Ms. Ketcham then spoke of the tenacity demonstrated by Colby in the execution of his project; the reblazing and clearing of some six miles of trails in Redding’s Topstone Park. Rob Blick, Park & Recreation director, and Paul Degener, Park & Recreation Commission chairman, recounted Colby’s perseverance despite the aftermath of two major events last year, Hurricane Irene and the major October snowstorm. These two storms brought down dozens and dozens of trees, blocking both the entrance to the park and making the trails impassible and dangerous. With the help of chain saw-wielding adults and Scouts, more than 75 trees were cut and cleared, saving the Park and Recreation Department thousands of dollars. With the trails cleared and freshly blazed, they could be safely enjoyed by residents of all ages.