By Eric Norwood Jr.
PNT staff writer
Ian Kelley, 17, of Portales and a member of Boy Scout Troop 18, has found a trail to fix as he works to become an Eagle Scout.
“All Eagle Scouts must complete a community service project before their 18th birthday,” said Assistant Scoutmaster Dale Beatty. Kelley made the decision to put trail markers on the mile-long nature trail just adjacent to the Portales softball complex on North Industrial Drive in Portales. The Troop had to dig to put nine poles in the ground, with two signs on each pole.
“I got the idea from a member of our leadership council who goes jogging out there, but she didn’t know how far she was running” said Kelley.
However, Kelley could not just go out to the trail and begin working. He had to seek donations from local businesses as well as seek permission from the Portales City Council.
“Ian had to take his idea to the city council and they had to approve it,” said Ian’s stepfather and Assistant Scoutmaster Robert Merrill.
“I was really nervous about it,” said Kelley.
After getting the approval of the city council, Kelley then sought out donations from local businesses.
“We got donations from Ace/Portales Hardware, Herbert Lumber, True Value and Lowe’s and Payless Rentals in Clovis,” said Kelley. “They donated equipment and supplies. Lowe’s gave me a gift card with $100 on it.”
“The man at Payless Rentals had sons who were Eagle Scouts, so he was happy to donate an auger rental for us,” said Beatty.
“Even Little Caesar’s donated four pizzas to us,” said Merrill.
At 7 a.m. Saturday, members of Troop 18 went out to the trail and began digging holes. Because all of the scouts are minors, none of them got to use the auger, but they did stay busy.
“They did everything but operate the auger,” said Beatty.
With the help of his Troop, Kelley placed sign poles on Saturday morning and got his signs laser-printed as well. By Sunday afternoon, his work will be done.
“It gives a chance to the younger scouts to help out, so they can see just how tough it is to make Eagle Scout,” said Beatty. His son Austin Beatty, 15, also a Boy Scout, as well as Kelley’s brother Brandon, 16, both were out early lending a hand.
“His leadership skills were pretty good,” said Austin Beatty.
According to the Becky Merrill, Ian and Brandon’s mother and the scout committee chair, Austin Beatty is next in line to become an Eagle Scout. Ian’s brother Brandon Kelley isn’t far behind in attaining his Eagle Scout rank, and he was paying attention to his brother on Saturday.
“It is pretty cool seeing my brother advance and I’m glad I got to help with his project. But if I could surpass him, more power,” said Brandon with a laugh.