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A badge of honor, being earned with fire engine red

posted Jul 18, 2013, 4:37 AM by Dan Rautenkranz   [ updated Jul 18, 2013, 5:08 AM ]

How many Boy Scouts does it take to paint a fire hydrant?

One, if he has plenty of pals and the right type of paint to get the job done. 

Just ask Eric Fletcher, a 16-year-old Worthington High School rising junior who set out on Wednesday to update 31 fire hydrants on the east side of town in an effort to meet the requirements for an Eagle Scout badge. 

"I noticed a lot of the fire hydrants in the Nobles Street area were not very visible, and that can be a hazard during the winter," said Fletcher, the son of Terry Fletcher. "I wanted to help fix that, figuring it would help with safety."

Fletcher, who has been involved in scouting since he was a fourth-grade Cub Scout and is now a member of Troop 134 chartered at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, got in touch with the city of Worthington about his idea.

"The city power-washed the hydrants, and I have a crew of 15 boys to help paint them," Fletcher explained. "We're painting them red, and it has to be a special paint. The city provided the paint, and I had to get the brushes."

If Fletcher's post-project evaluation is favorable and he ultimately achieves the rank of Eagle Scout, as he is hoping, he will find himself among an elite group. Of the 104 million boys who have enrolled in Boy Scouts since 1910, only 40,029 have been dubbed Eagle Scouts, and for every 100 boys who begins in scouting, only two earn the Eagle rank.

"I'm hoping I get it," said Fletcher, whose troop leader is Michael Bah.

In the past, Fletcher has had fun attending a Boy Scout summer camp in Wisconsin, where he created fond memories building elaborate sand castles on the beach.

Just a couple of weeks ago, from July 7-13, he was at the Lewis & Clark Boy Scout Camp at Yankton, S.D., conducting fossil research, among other pursuits.

Fletcher is also self-employed during the summer months and regularly mows six lawns.

"I like to go trap shooting, and basically do anything outside," Fletcher said. "I've really enjoyed scouting," he added. "This [becoming an Eagle Scout] is an achievement I'd really like to get.