FORT RUCKER, Ala. (Ft. Rucker) -- An Eagle Scout project should benefit a religious institution, a community or a school, according to BoysLife.org.
Mark Johnson, a Boy Scout with Fort Rucker Troop 50, managed to help out all three with his recently completed Eagle Scout project of building two school bus stops in Enterprise.
Mark hosted ribbon cutting ceremonies for his creations Aug. 2, including the bus stop in Holiday Village right outside of the Enterprise Gate that U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College Class 19-06 donated more than $2,000 to in an effort to help the Scout complete the project.
Holiday Village residents joined Fort Rucker and scouting officials at the ceremony, including a proud father.
"I'm on top of the world," said Forrest Johnson, Mark's father and committee chair for Troop 50. "He will be the second of three sons to make Eagle. He started out wanting to do this much (hands about six inches apart) and he ended up doing this much (hands about two feet apart)."
Mark's creations, with the other one being near the Macedonia Baptist Church, aren't any run-of-the-mill bus stops -- they're solid and present nice curb appeal, or, as WOCC representative CW3 Bennett Monday said at the ceremony, "they turned out awesome," before cutting the ribbon with Mark.
"We're glad to help out," the training, advising and counseling officer added. "When candidates have leftover money from their class projects, they can donate it to a worthy cause -- this is definitely a good cause."
For his part, Mark said he bit off more than he intended to with the projects, but not more than he could chew.
"It was much, much, much harder than I thought it would be," he said, adding that he forgot how small his troop is and overestimated how much help he would receive with the project. "It took 3 months longer than I expected."
But the significant amount of physical labor wasn't the hardest part, he said.
"It was the scheduling, being interviewed by Eagle Board for approval of the project, and trying to sell the idea and its benefits to people to get donations," he said, adding that these experiences will help him with his next step on the path to Eagle Scout.
That next step will be going before the Eagle Board to see if his efforts meet the standards for obtaining Eagle Scout, which Mark expects to take place in September.
And right on the heels of completing his project, Mark has some advice for others seeking to become Eagle Scouts.
"Do your scheduling better," he said. "Also, ask other Eagle Scouts what they did right and what they did wrong, so you can learn from their experience. Look at what your peers did, copy what they did right and don't do what they did wrong because history repeats itself."
Although, said his father, mistakes are part of the Eagle Scout process.
"He would ask, 'Dad, what do I do?' I said, 'You figure it out. It's your project.' He made a bunch of mistakes, and it took a lot longer because of those mistakes," Forrest said. "But this one took longer than the other one because he learned from all of his mistakes with this one."