Bridges can offer hope and connect communities.
Boy Scout Sebastian Dodge, from Troop 347, wants to provide both of those in McMinnville for his Eagle Scout project.
Dodge has asked the city’s permission to build a bridge along River Trail East, a new walking trail being established along the Barren Fork River from Sally’s Alley to Rocket Park.
“I am working on my Eagle Scout badge, the highest rank a Boy Scout can attain,” Dodge wrote in his letter to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. “I spoke with Wally Bigbee pertaining to building a bridge capable of handling a small utility vehicle for my project.”
The rank of Eagle Scout is given after a Boy Scout completes an Eagle Scout project. Scouts must show leadership skills and must earn a total of 21 merit badges, including badges for first aid, citizenship, personal fitness, emergency preparedness and environmental science.
Then, in order to become an Eagle Scout, scouts must plan, develop and lead others in implementing a service project that will benefit any religious institution, school, or the community in general.
The service project is a culmination of everything a scout has learned during his time in the program. Dodge must generate all the information for his project, including permission from the city of McMinnville, and then go before a Boy Scout review board for its consideration of his project.
Dodge said he has contacted engineer Scott St. John, who has agreed to work with him to design and organize the project.
“As details develop, I will share those with you and the board,” said Dodge. “However, the first thing the Eagle Board requires before I can begin the actual task is written permission from you allowing me to complete this bridge on municipal property. If this is something you think would benefit the citizens of McMinnville, I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me your permission to build this bridge connecting me with my goal as Eagle Scout.”
Mayor Jimmy Haley explained a bridge is needed.
“Sebastian helped the last Saturday we worked,” said Haley of the public work days being held for River Trail East. “One of the things Dr. Bigbee identified that would help the trail is a small bridge that would cover a ravine as a connector of the two trails. Dr. Bigbee asked if I knew an Eagle Scout. Sebastian helped Saturday and Dr. Bigbee showed him the area. Dr. Bigbee is going to be supervising this and overseeing it.”
City officials considered the request and unanimously approved it. In attendance with Haley were Vice Mayor Ben Newman and Aldermen Mike Neal, Jimmy Bonner, Ryle Chastain, Everett Brock and Steve Harvey.