Would-be Eagle Scout’s work enhancing Apple Fest grounds

Published 3:17 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Visitors to the Four Flags Apple Festival might notice something new to the festival this year. They'll actually get to see the four flags flying on the festival grounds.
In front of the Applefest building, located on the festival grounds at Lake and 17th streets, are six new flag poles which are the result of one young man's efforts to become an Eagle Scout.
Chris Paquette of Niles saw an opportunity to help the Apple Festival when a project for Howard Township Parks fell through.
The 18-year-old Niles High School senior originally planned to do a similar project for the township in August to meet the requirements for Eagle Scout, the highest rank a Boy Scout can obtain.
After the presenting the project to Howard Township officials, Chris didn't hear back from them for a while.
Michael Kessler, President of the Apple Festival and a member of the local troop committee, told Chris that the Applefest grounds needed a space to display flags.
This project is actually the third community service project done by local scouts for the Applefest grounds.
The first project was the flower beds around the Apple Festival building, and the second was a water line running through most of the festival grounds, according to Kessler.
Kessler got Chris in contact with Skip Frantz, who donated the flag poles, and that got the project in motion, Chris said.
Local companies such as Consumer's Concrete donated the concrete for the display, and Niles Sand and Gravel donated the pea gravel at the base of the flag poles.
Berrien Teachers Credit Union donated $400, which Chris used to buy the fence which encircles the display. Chris' fellow scouts of Boy Scout Troop 555, which is sponsored by the Huntly Memorial Baptist Church, donated their time and labor to the project.
Chris has been involved with the scouts since he was seven-years-old. He first became interested around the age of four, when his older brother, Alex Paquette started in tiger cubs at the age of seven.
Chris' parents, Marty Paquette and Victoria Krziza, encouraged him to join the scouts when he turned seven and now the Eagle Scout project is the culmination of 11 years of hard work.
To obtain the rank of Eagle Scout, a scout must have 21 merit badges, including 11 that are required by the National Scout Board, and complete a community service project.
Some of the required merit badges include first aid, environmental science, emergency preparedness, and personal management.
After completing the community service project, a scout must then go before a board of review, comprised of former scouts, retired scout leaders, and individuals who have worked with the scouts for a long time.
The board interviews the potential eagle scout for about an hour, Chris said, testing him in history of the Boy Scouts, flag etiquette, and general scouting skills.
After the interview is complete, the board sends its recommendation to the National Scout Board, which reviews the comments of the evaluators and awards the Eagle Scout rank to the hopeful scout.
The scout receives a package from the National Scout Board, which contains an Eagle Scout identification card, a certificate recognizing the scout's achievement, and pins for the mother and father of the scout.
Chris is proud of the project and is hopeful that he will attain his Eagle Scout rank when he goes before the LaSalle Council Board of Review, based out of South Bend, Ind.
Kessler anticipates the flag display will draw quite a crowd of visitors this weekend.
In recognition of Chris and the hard work of his troop, the flag of Boy Scout Troop 555 will fly all weekend for visitors to see.