A hot, humid day couldn’t stop Madison Boy Scout Blake Johnson from getting closer to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.
Johnson and 13 adult and Scout volunteers spent all day Saturday, Aug. 22, laying landscape rocks along the north side of the American Legion Post 534 in McFarland to prevent damage from the riding lawnmower striking the building. The crew also installed rocks around the perimeter of the flag pole and floodlight that shines upward toward the flag at night.
The American Legion Post 534 is located at 4911 Burma Road, across the street from McFarland High School.
Johnson, who will be a senior at Abundant Life High School, was responsible for planning, developing and leading the project. According to the Boy Scouts website, life skills developed by Eagle Scouts through these projects – added to the skills learned through Scouting – remain with them for life. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in the organization.
Johnson said the area in front of the building had 28 hostas that were removed and replanted in nearby areas. The grass was removed with a sod cutter, plastic edging was installed, the dirt was graded, landscaping fabric was placed on the dirt and then the crews shoveled in the rocks.
“The (wooden) siding was getting chipped up by the lawnmower, and it was running up against the building,” Johnson said. “They don’t have to mow for weeds or pull weeds. It saves the American Legion a lot of work.”
The project began after the legion post’s chaplain, Dale Sankey, contacted Johnson’s troop to see if he would be interested in doing some work around the building.
“He mentioned putting a rock border around the building, and I didn’t think that seemed so hard,” Johnson said.
Most materials used to complete the project were donated by Slinde Trucking and Materials of Madison, McFarland True Value Hardware, Rienders Landscaping Supplies of Madison and Staples Office Supplies in Monona. Concrete Service Company of Stoughton provided the Bobcat.
Johnson, who has been a Scout for 11 years, said achieving Eagle Scout status signifies all the work he has put in as both a Cub Scout and Boy Scout.
After graduating from Abundant Life, Johnson said he may attend UW-Platteville and study to become a mechanical engineer.
McFarland High School sophomore Keegan Bell, one of the Boy Scout volunteers, said it was fun to help Johnson get closer to his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.
“We all participated in every job and helped out each other in every way,” Bell said. “It really helps out Blake, and it helps out the other kids with their service hours so they can advance in rank. It’s a nice day and Blake’s a nice guy. He deserves the Eagle.”