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10 in Troop 440 earning high Scout honor
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KEVIN THOMPSON Overpass Project


Only about 2% of all boys that enter scouting will achieve the rank of Eagle. The following must be completed before the scout’s 18th birthday:
• Be active in your troop and patrol for at least 6 months as a Life Scout.
• Demonstrate Scout spirit by living the Scout Oath (Promise) and Scout Law in your everyday life. List the names of individuals who know you personally and would be willing to provide a recommendation on your behalf, including parents/guardians, religious, educational, and employer references.
• Earn a total of 21 merit badges (10 more than you already have), including the following: First Aid, Citizenship in the Community, Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World, Communications, Personal Fitness, Emergency Preparedness OR Lifesaving, Environmental Science, Personal Management, Swimming OR Hiking OR Cycling, Camping, and, Family Life
•  While a Life Scout, serve actively for a period of 6 months in one or more of the positions of responsibility
• While a Life Scout, plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, school, or community. (The project should benefit an organization other than Boy Scouting.) The project idea must be approved by the organization benefiting from the effort, your Scoutmaster and troop committee and the council or district before you start.
• Take part in a Scoutmaster conference.
• Successfully complete an Eagle Scout board of review.

Source: The Boy Scouts Handbook
The Ripon LSD Boy Scout Troop 440 is approaching a nation-wide record tonight as it salutes 10 Eagle Scouts in a Court of Honor.

The event is set for 7 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Stake Center on Northland Road in Manteca.

The scouts who have attained the highest ranking in scouting are Jordan Williamson, 16, Jason Williamson, 15, Benjamin Tolman, 14, Quinn McMurtrey, 15, Cole Herrin, 14, Mark Bigelow, 16, Derrick Lake, 15, Kevin Thompson, 15, Matthew Gay, and Lucas Brown, 15.

The boys have all outlined their future goals that include at least four years of college and serving their church communities.  Family ties have been exhibited as being of paramount importance now and in their future years – all set to begin their families after college.

Each of the boys had to choose their own Eagle Scout project to aid their community.  Troop Scoutmaster Eric McMurtrey lauded the hard work demonstrated by his scouts in achieving their goals.

Jordan Williamson
At 16, Jordan Williamson will be a junior at Ripon High School in the fall where he engages in basketball, baseball and plays trumpet in his high school band.

His project focused on the fire department’s need for fire hydrant upkeep.  Jordan put together a group of 40 plus workers to provide maintenance on 400 fire hydrants throughout the city of Ripon.  They reported missing or broken blue street locators as well as bushes that were overgrown and obstructing visibility of the hydrants.

The project required intense organization making sure teams were formed, routes prepared and supplies provided allowing the massive project to complete in just one day.

Ben Tolman
Ben Tolman, 14, an incoming high school freshman took part in the hydrant maintenance project as well – but in the city of Manteca.  “The reason this is needed is because the fire department needs to be able to access water from them fast enough to put out a fire – they simply don’t have much time to do it themselves,” he said.

Ben is looking forward to a degree in music saying his most inspirational figure is Louis Armstrong.  “He was one of the greatest trumpet players of his time and helped the public to understand and to fully appreciate the people who put together the music they listen to,” he said.

Jason Williamson
Jordan Williamson’s younger brother Jason, 15, is also receiving his Eagle rank.  His project focused on the storage and restroom buildings at Stouffer Park located on the Stanislaus River.  He put together a group of 45 people to tear off the shingles on the buildings and replaced them with asphalt shingles.

They also painted both buildings and filled the nearby play areas with fresh bark – in total 350 man hours of work. Jason said he learned the importance of good planning, leadership and the execution of a large project.  He also learned how to apply shingles, paint and work with the city’s administration.

Quinn McMurtrey
Quinn McMurtrey, 15, is entering his sophomore year in high school this coming fall.

Quinn organized a program to hand out child safety kits at Ripon’s National Night Out last year.  A picture was taken of each child and a DNA sample was harvested with a swab from inside the child’s cheek.  A box was given to the parents with their child’s DNA to be kept in their home freezer.

Giving the parents an information booklet allowed them to include vital information about their children, Quinn said.  “I was glad I did this project because it felt good to be able to help the children, the parents and the community,” he said.  Child safety coloring books were also handed out to the children.

Cole Herrin
Cole Herrin, 14, is a recent graduate of Weston Elementary School where he was presented with the Trustees’ Award for his 4.0 GPA, the citizenship award and for his “outstanding character.”

For his Eagle Project, he chose to renovate Field No. 1 at the Ripon Community Center complex.  Having played baseball there for several years, he noticed that the bleachers were unsafe as the wood was broken, loose from its supports, and in general disrepair.

With the help of city public works director Ted Johnston and his staff, Cole assembled a large group of volunteers who ripped out the old bleachers and broken boards from the back stop and replaced them with new wood.  The entire area – bleachers, backstops, and dugouts – were painted and cleaned up leaving a fresh new look to the baseball facilities.

Mike Bigelow
Mark Bigelow, 16, is an incoming senior at Ripon High School where he has gone out for cross country, baseball, golf and football.  Duck hunting is his favorite activity along with working on his truck.

Mark’s Eagle project was creating a memorial for Mrs. Wendy Brouwer, a deceased teacher at Ripona Elementary School, who passed away from Leukemia.

Mark and his volunteers removed sod, installed forms, laid two yards of concrete and installed a hexagon bench around a tree.  Next to the tree they he installed a pedestal and plaque honoring Mrs. Brouwer and her love for reading.  

Also planting six other trees and ground cover around the school, the project took over 130 man hours to complete.

Derrick Lake
Derrick Lake, 15, had a three-part project to attain his Eagle rank.  First, he focused on landscaping an area between the Ripon City Hall and the skate park to the west.  

“It was a tough job because someone had accidentally left the sprinklers on the night before.  It was thick with mud and really difficult to work,” he said.  Derrick and his 50 “great volunteers” jumped in and got the job done.

The second part of his project focused on his church where he and his team built quilting frames to donate to the ladies of the church so they would always have them for quilting projects.  The third part was to help the homeless using the quilting frames – with the help of 22 volunteers – tying quilts to donate to the homeless before the onset of winter.

Matthew Gay
Matthew Gay, 16, said he has been “incredibly blessed” to have a loving and inspirational family.

For his Eagle Project he upgraded and reconstructed some parts of the varsity baseball field at Ripon High School.  With the help of 45 volunteers, their tools and a willingness to work, he built a new bullpen on the visitors’ side, rebuilt the home bullpen, and repaired the batting cage nets.

“I will never forget the experiences that I have had while being a scout, and I don’t regret my decision to stick with it,” he said.

Kevin Thompson
Kevin Thompson, 15, is also a student at Ripon High School where he participates in the Academic Decathlon Team.  He plays trumpet in the high school band and is in his sixth year of piano.

For his Eagle Project he put together a group to landscape an undeveloped area on the Jack Tone Road overpass in Ripon behind the Tractor Supply Co.  The city provided all the materials for the project that took 110 man hours to complete.  

Donations totaling $4,500, made the project possible covering a 2,000 square foot parcel – now with a sprinkler system, several trees, decorative plants and grass.   Around home he enjoys cooking and is willing to be a dishwasher as well – also taking care of the lawn and the pool.

Lucas Brown
Lucas Brown, 15, is going into his sophomore year at Ripon High.  He loves to play golf, basketball and ping pong, saying he was fortunate to serve as the Ripon Chiefs’ equipment manager several years ago.

Lucas entered scouting at eight years old and has steadily earned his rank advancements and merit badges – 21 are required for Eagle – he has 33 to his name.

For his Eagle Project Lucas chose to work with the City of Ripon Public Works Department and landscape the planters around the parking lot near the Stanislaus River foot and bicycle bridge which parallels Highway 99.

The project involved planting seven trees, 200 shrubs and spreading many yards of decorative bark in the planters. Lucas collected donations from area businesses and residents to purchase and install a bench where walkers can sit and enjoy the edge of the Riparian forest.

Lucas planned, made a lot of telephone calls and directed the 58 volunteers who helped with the project.  It took him 20 hours of prep time and 200 man hours to complete.