GREENBRIER — Garrett Lawson is the kind of young man who everybody loves to be around. He is a fine example of the scouting oath: "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent". He is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout within Boy Scout Troop 435 and has only a few steps left to qualify. At age 15, just in the ninth grade at Greenbrier Junior High School, he is a remarkable young man who entered scouting at age 11 and is already on his way to the highest rank in scouting that a young man can achieve.
The next to last step in earning Eagle Scout rank is to plan and supervise a community project. Garrett chose to provide garden planting boxes for Westside Elementary School children in Greenbrier. He explained, "I chose this project to help the pre-kindergarten kids at Westside at the suggestion of their teacher, Natalie Reynolds. It was in the planning stages for about 3 months and is finally happening. I had to conference and get permits from many sources to make this happen."
Reynolds, teacher for twenty 4-5 year olds, said, "I’ve wanted these planter boxes for a long time. We will plant pansies in the fall and veggies next Spring to illustrate that we can grow our own food and have a better life-style. I hope to combine these picked veggies with some cooking lessons in class too. The kids are really excited about planting and learning how to care for a garden. We are now rated state-wide by Better Beginnings as a 3-star classroom—the highest you can achieve—and these lessons will help us keep that rating."
The Eagle Scout rank is not easy to achieve, requiring multiple tasks and approvals from many people on these achievements. Garrett has earned 28 merit badges (only 21 are required), is active in the troop as a Life Scout, has served for six months in a leadership position as Troop Guide, and has taught the Tenderfoot ranks through Life Scout. His merit badges involved things like Nuclear Science, Indian Lore, Computers, Geology, Wilderness Survival, Architecture, Cinematography, and Environmental Science—just to name a few. Garrett only needed a community service project before appearing before the Eagle Scout board of review.
After spending months of planning, getting approvals, and buying or getting donated supplies, he delegated and supervised the installation of two 4 feet by 20 feet planter boxes for the Westside school yard. He made sure each young troop member had a part to play in the installation, whether measuring and cutting the weed barrier for underlayment, digging out the top grass, installing the lumber, and/or shoveling in the top soil. The whole project actually cost about $100 with some of the materials donated by Lowe’s and Ride-Out Lumber.
Dusty Brown is Scout Master of this troop of 26 boys who meet every Monday evening at Greenbrier First United Methodist Church. Brown said, "Garrett is a great kid. I’ve never seen a boy as motivated at age 15 as he is. He actually takes the time to play and interact with the younger boys and is very well liked. I’ve never seen anyone get irritated with Garrett. He is very mature for his age." Garrett’s dad, Gary, is Assistant Scout Master of these boys ranging in age from ten to eighteen. When Garrett was asked what his plans are when he grows up, he said, "I’d like to do something with science and outdoors, perhaps a science teacher or a Doctor."