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The Journey to Completing my Eagle Project

Completing one of my most difficult projects yet, and achieved an 8 year long goal
Bruce Ostrowski
Here is the finished product just before I delivered them

According to Boy Scouts of America’s rules, you only have until your eighteenth birthday to complete all the requirements for the Eagle rank, including your project. This set up the hard deadline of August 23rd, 2023, to accomplish all the requirements. A lifelong Scout, I was not missing out on this opportunity.

My project was at the request of the Fire Department, something needed for years. The current ice rescue ladders set up around town were growing old and less reliable. I was tasked with painting, stenciling, and supplying rope to 12 large wooden ice rescue ladders, along with creating signs to accompany them. Each of the 12 metal signs that we had made displayed important information regarding what the ladder is for, what to do in an emergency, and location.

I started planning this project in January 2023, and did not finish until mid-August of the same year.

Robin Dresser, District Chief at Sutton Fire Department, introduced me to this project in January, and I thought it was a great idea. We began having meetings throughout the first few months of the year, and I started writing my project proposal. In order to begin working on the project, I needed to have my proposal approved by my Unit Leader (Richard Cole), Unit Committee Chair (Fred Andrews), Project Beneficiary (Robin Dresser), and the Council (Lewis Alderton).

I hit my first roadblock when I was having my online meeting with Mr. Alderton. We were discussing my proposal, and he came to the conclusion that it didn’t show sufficient development. I typed up a document that detailed my project more in depth, and he approved it. It only took an extra few days, but this went to show that even seemingly small hiccups can cause extended delays. This happened many times throughout the course of my project, and towards the end, every day mattered.

My proposal was approved on August 1st, meaning I only had 22 days till I turned eighteen. After I finished writing up my plan in my workbook, a few volunteers and I began work on the ladders on the 5th. After doing some brief sanding, we painted the ladders a deep red with 2 coats. This process took about a full day of work (from 10:30 to 4:00) painting all twelve ladders. This part wasn’t too difficult as we found a good way of setting it up and were quite efficient with our time.

The second day I had a larger team with me. We got to work drilling holes in the far end of each ladder for rope to be attached, and spray painted “SFD Rescue Ladder Call 911” using homemade plastic stencils. We finished the ladders, but the signs have still yet to be completed.

The signs were taking much longer than expected to be ordered. The company we were working with printed out the signs in just two days, which I am thankful for, because if it took any longer I may not have been able to finish in time. Once we picked up the signs and made sure they all looked good, we realized that we didn’t have any of the necessary screws to attach them to the poles and hooks. I think that poor planning was the part at fault for this. We bought the necessary hardware, and drilled holes through the metal signs, screwed the poles to them with the hooks.

We finally finished the project on the 18th, and I was very proud of the work I had done (and still am!). I took many pictures throughout the whole process. People, who go onto the ice during the winter, will be much safer with these rescue ladders supplied. Also, the public will be more aware on how to use these ladders, and what to do in an emergency if the ladders are needed. Robin Dresser, the district fire chief of Sutton Fire, has been incredibly helpful and important to me, and I thank him tremendously for what he has done to help me complete this project.

My father was possibly the most important person to this project. He encouraged and helped me in every way possible. I attribute part of my success to him, as he pushed me towards my goals and provided great advice. This project was the final requirement I needed to complete to earn my Eagle rank. Now at the time of writing this article, I had my board of review a few weeks ago and passed. I can officially now say that I am an Eagle Scout!

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  • Without the proper tools, any project is doomed for failure. My initial tools are here and ready

  • More tools! Without these, completion is not happening!

  • Inside Shaw barn, the project begins with the initial assembly

  • The first ones are completed, and the red paint is next up

  • Carefully, the painting begins–the red is important for visibility

  • Keeping them off the ground while putting them together and painting them

  • All painted, the ladder now sits and dries to complete the project

  • Sometimes you need to go outside and enjoy some sunshine

  • My friend, Shane, helps me paint the ladders. Without such assistance, the project does not happen.

  • These signs are important–people need to know that the ladders are available.

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About the Contributor
Philip Ostrowski
Philip Ostrowski, Staff Reporter
My name is Philip Ostrowski and I am a senior at Sutton High School. I run cross country, track, and I am a Boy Scout. I have learned many new skills and have experienced many new things as a scout. A hobby of mine is programming, and I often use it to make video games. I also appreciate the outdoors, and love to go biking, hiking, and camping.

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