April 29, 2014 | 12:01 PMBLOOMFIELD — A couple weeks ago, Jack Walker and his sisters took a group of friends to the Pell Lake beach near Lakeshore Drive, where they sit on the ground or the rocks.
“In my head, I was like, personal win, because I knew that, in a week, they’d have a nice place to sit,” said Walker, who built three benches. Two were installed at the beach, one on the beach near The Big House.
Building benches is the final step in Walker’s project to become an Eagle Scout. “I knew my Eagle Scout project was going to be building something, I just didn’t know what.”
Walker wouldn’t call building a passion, but he enjoys it. That’s probably because of his dad, Howard, a carpenter and influence in his scouting career.
|Walker (click for larger version)|
So was Nate Walter, the Twin Lakes Eagle Scout who died in 2013 after he was struck by a car while riding a lawn mower.
Walker said the benches will be dedicated to Walter, who was 16 when he died. “He was the embodiment of what scouts are all about,” Jack said.
“Nate’s loss was a big thing for the troop,” said Jack’s mom, Kathy. She said Jack wants to place commemorative plaques dedicated to Walter on the benches.
That’s one reason Kathy’s proud of her son.
Another is seeing Jack complete all the Eagle Scout requirements. “Getting it all done is a big accomplishment.”
Jack may not be sure whether he wants to pursue careers in writing or music after graduation, but he’s positive about becoming an eagle scout.
“In my head, I was always going to get it,” he said, “even though I’m pushing it a bit. Once you turn 18, if you don’t have everything done and all your signatures, you can’t get it.”
Jack turned 18 a couple days before the benches went in.
Originally from Pleasant Prairie, Jack and his family moved to Pell Lake when he was in first grade.
In second grade, he joined the Scouts. His family used to camp a lot, he said, and the classic image of Scouts knowing how to survive in the wilderness was appealing.
What kept him involved in Scouts over the years are “the people and the trips, but mostly, the people.”
Scouts also kept Jack close to his dad, Howard, who lives in Zion, Ill. Once a week, the two would participate in scouting activities.
Howard helped Jack build his benches. “He did all the cutting,” said Jack. The benches were built from scratch at the Scout cabin on Thunderbird Road.
“I think it took about 72 hours, with all the help I received from other people.”
About 10 people helped Jack, who recalled helping his friend, Cooper Bohn, on his project. “It’s what Scouts do.”
Jack’s benefactor for the community project is Bloomfield Village President Ken Monroe. He asked Monroe if it would be OK to build benches for the beach.
“I told him to do it,” said Monroe. Why? “I’m supportive of all Scouts. I think it’s a great program. It takes the boys and teaches them all sorts of different things.”
The Pell Lake beach is one of Jack’s favorite places.
“I come here a lot,” he said. “This is my thinking place.”
But what if Jack doesn’t achieve an Eagle Scout rank?
“Then I guess I’ll stay a life (scout rank) and I’ll have done something good for the community. Either way, I’m kind of proud of what I did.”