LAKE PARK – When Chuckie Hawes first became involved in Boy Scouts in the first grade, he was just following his father’s lead.
But now, 11 years later, the 17-year-old Porter Ridge High School senior has made Scouts a way of life.
“I’ve been involved in (Scouts) ever since I was really young,” Chuckie said. “It’s become such a part of life. It would be weird to not have it. It’s been a family thing because (my dad) got his Eagle Scout and he wanted (my brother and I) to get ours, and I’m really glad he did that.”
Chuckie was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout Sunday, Nov. 4, at an Eagle Scout Court of Honor at Faith United Methodist Church in Lake Park. Chuckie and his family are members of Faith UMC, and Chuckie’s Scout group, Troop 151, meets at the church.
When Chuckie was preparing to do his Eagle Scout project, he considered several different options, such as working with the Carolina Raptor Center on an owl habitat endeavor, but his connection to Faith UMC ultimately led him to work with the church on his project. After exploring several different options, Chuckie settled on building a 140-foot French drain on the church campus alongside one of the fields.
“There were a few choices, but this one really seemed to stand out and affected me because I go to youth group there and have often gone across the area,” Chuckie said. “It would get so muddy; people were getting stuck in it. I thought, ‘If I fix this, I can understand exactly how much it will help people that play over there.’”
Over the course of several months, Chuckie spent days planning and designing, which he said was the most challenging aspect of the project. He had to get approval from both the church and the Town of Lake Park before he could submit a proposal to a Scouts council for review.
“The most challenging thing was all the planning and estimating,” Chuckie said. “I’m not a person that likes to sit down and type all day; I like to get out and do, so I was kind of on edge from all of the planning.”
Chuckie and his family were able to raise the money to cover the cost of the project through Lake Park’s semi-annual yard sale. The family had a lot of items they wanted to get rid of, so they decided to have a “massive yard sale” where they raised enough to cover virtually the entire project, including the gift cards Chuckie bought for his fellow workers, he said. He purchased gravel from a local company, piping from Lowe’s and borrowed a handful of high-tech construction equipment from a neighbor.
Once the planning was completed and the proposal approved, Chuckie and about 20 friends, including some fellow Scouts, spent two days in June digging the trench, lifting the sod, putting the piping in and padding the area to secure everything into place. After they were finished, Chuckie returned to plant grass seed along the area.
After exactly 174.8 hours – he counted – of preparation and sweat work put into the project, Chuckie was pleased to see the final results.
“It was really cool to see this thing that I had been planning for so long come to life and become a reality, because you really want to see it done after months and months of writing about it,” he said.
Chuckie said he came back a few days after the project was finished to check out the drain. It had just rained, and he saw water coming out of the pipe.
“That made me realize it was working,” he said. “It’s an improvement thing; it’s a job well done.”
Now that he’s completed the project and received enough badges to earn his Eagle Scout rank, Chuckie can concentrate on the rest of his busy schedule, which includes year-long swim team practices, the Union County Performance Ensemble’s stage production of “Footloose,” finishing high school and applying to college.
He hopes to attend Davidson College or Wake Forest University to study history and theater, and said he’d love to work for the History Channel someday where he could fuse his passion for history with a love for being in front of the camera.
Although the age limit for Scouts typically is 18, Chuckie said he’d love to get involved with the Order of the Arrow program, which allows Scouts to stay until age 21 and focuses on activities appropriate for that age group.
“I would like to be a part of that for the next three years because they do a lot of cool things formed around older Scouts.”