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CATHY BENSON | The Botetourt View
Lord Botetourt High School senior Alex Norris installed his Eagle Scout project in the historic town of Fincastle on July 12.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The Cloverdale Boy Scout whose Eagle scout project ran into almost $1,000 in cost overruns needs no bailout from its chief beneficiary, Botetourt County.
That’s because some generous readers of The Roanoke Times (and my blog on roanoke.com) have beat supervisors to the punch. The Boy Scout in question has more than enough money to finish his project.
On behalf of Alex Norris, thank you readers. You good-hearted folks come through again and again.
In case you missed Thursday’s column: Alex, 17, is a rising senior at Lord Botetourt High. He’s been in Scouts ever since he was a little kid. He belongs to Troop 136, which meets at Parkway Wesleyan Church.
He’s determined to become an Eagle Scout, the organization’s highest rank, something that only about 3 percent of all Boy Scouts achieve. (I’m in the other 97 percent).
The penultimate step in making the rank is completion of an Boy-Scouts approved Eagle Scout project. The purpose is to demonstrate leadership and to benefit the community.
It involves planning, winning advance approval from the Scouts and the organization that benefits from the project, implementing it and raising all the money to pay for whatever costs are involved.
The project Alex chose was a granite marker and granite benches, to be installed in Botetourt County, honoring American troops. The estimated cost was $3,700. Alex raised that via donations, a car wash/bake sale/cookout and by selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
Some late changes to the project requested by a former Botetourt County official added $990 to the cost of the project while it was under way. That left Alex almost $1,000 in the red.
He crossed his fingers, said a prayer or two and installed the benches and laser-etched granite markers July 12 outside the Botetourt County Emergency Services building in Fincastle.
Since then he’s scrambled to raise the rest of the money. As of last week he was still $490 short.
My column in Thursday’s paper told his story and raised the question as to whether Botetourt County should bail him out. By the end of that day, though, no bailout was necessary.
One of the readers who stepped forward was Ron May, a college president from Indiana. He sent me a card for Alex with a check for $245. I remailed those to Alex on Monday.
Another regular reader of the blog who goes by the nickname Hillary mailed a check for the other $245 on Saturday. She asked me not to use her name. She’s retired and lives with her husband in Franklin County, and they have two grown sons.
“He dedicated so much time to that. He really was working for the greater good,” Hillary told me yesterday. “And that should be rewarded.”
They weren’t the only ones who felt that way.
Emails and phone calls poured in from other readers, asking for Alex’s address. One was from a former Eagle Scout who’s now stationed in Kuwait. Another was from Tom Bowers, Salem’s Commonwealth’s Attorney. Another was from a disabled vet. A bunch of older Eagle Scouts responded, too. There were many more .
I forwarded Alex’s address to all of them, and then I called him and warned him that more money was likely headed his way than he needs.
Monday, Alex told me that he’s received $100 in three donations even before Ron May’s and Hillary’s checks arrived. It never occurred to him that he might wind up with a surplus.
“Any donations I get in excess of what I need for the project I’m going to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project,” he told me.
That nonprofit helps severely injured members of the armed forces and their families.
The final step in becoming an Eagle Scout is for Alex to appear before an Eagle Scout Board of Review.
“What a fantastic end to his project,” said his mom, Kaye Norris. “It’s all due to so many people helping us out. We never felt right asking Botetourt County for money — because you’re supposed to raise it yourself.”
She added: “There are just so many good people. You just don’t hear about them.”
Not often enough, anyway.
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