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Boy Scout improves Scott Lake through eagle project

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Alex Messer stands in front of the gazebo that he helped put into place as part of his Eagle Scout project. Alex with help form his friends and family cleared land around Scott Lake and fixed the docks in addition to the gazebo. (Courtesy photo)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Alex Messer stands in front of the gazebo that he helped put into place as part of his Eagle Scout project. Alex with help form his friends and family cleared land around Scott Lake and fixed the docks in addition to the gazebo. (Courtesy photo)

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- What started off as a little project to improve Scott Lake for its visitors has become a much bigger effort with help from people all around base.
 
"I was supposed to do a short and simple Eagle project," said Alex Messer, a Mascoutah High School sophomore. "It grew, and with the funding of the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron, we cleared the land, fixed the dock and put in a gazebo." 

Alex, son of Master Sgt. John Messer, Air Mobility Command headquarters communications, was working on his Eagle Project for Boy Scouts. Eagle is the highest rank in Boy Scouts. 

"I had to do a project that benefitted not only myself, but others as well," said Alex.
When researching a project, Alex consulted the 375th CES. 

Elizabeth Toftemark, 375th CES energy manager, said, "Alex approached us about Eagle Scout ideas that he could work on and liked the gazebo idea and we liked it because it could be easily relocated in the future. He also shortened the dock for us. He has really helped us out and we are very pleased with his work." 

Work began Sept. 13 with Alex, his parents and some friends clearing the land at Scott Lake of poison ivy and thorns by hand. 

The 375th CES donated two-and-a-half tons of dirt that Alex and his helpers leveled themselves. Afterward, they laid a tarp down to prevent unnecessary plant life from growing. 

"We had to stand in the water to put rocks on the tarp during the winter," said Alex.
Alex's crew then cemented the posts that would eventually hold the gazebo. Finally, the gazebo that was purchased by the 375th CES had a place to be put. 

Even after the gazebo was in place, Alex still found more things to improve. Alex's family put shingling on the roof, while he and his sister stained the gazebo by hand. 

The project was finally completed Feb. 17 after 298 hours of work. 

"The average project is supposed to take up 125 hours," said Alex. 

Although his project is done, he is still nowhere near being done with the process. Alex has to present his project to a board, then his scout master will review his work and Alex will go back to a board to be questioned. 

The end result, though, is if Alex becomes an Eagle Scout, he will be able to pass his knowledge to other Scouts. 

"I'm not the type of person who slacks so I wanted to do a grand Eagle project so that I could be remembered for a long time, not just a year," said Alex, who has been in Boy Scouts since 2004. 

Even now, Alex is still improving his project. 

"I also placed three layers of ten-pound bricks around the gazebo to make it stronger and look better," said Alex. "Next, three Girl Scouts will plant flowers around as part of their Bronze award to also make it look better." 

Alex's father, Sergeant Messer, was also proud of his son's project. 

Sergeant Messer said, "the 375th CES and the base Arts and Crafts Center for helping with the wood cutting were instrumental in funding and completing the project. Alex was able to help the base with the help of his friends, family and other scouts in his troop. I am glad that he was able to learn while working on his Eagle Project."