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Hedges earns Eagle Scout honors

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Joe Hedges of Pipe Creek achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America this month when he completed his service project, a new well house for the Castle Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Hedges started scouting as a Webelo when he was 10. During his years in scouting he has earned numerous awards and patches; regularly attended meetings and special events; participated in many week-long camps; and trekked the Grand Canyon, the Appalachian Trail, Big Bend, the Guadalupe Mountains, and more. His longest trek was 70 miles.

He participated in the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America with a special display at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.

He has helped in Cub Scout activities and has taught each patrol of young scouts joining the troop the fun out-door scout skills.

Hedges met many local elected officials in his citizenship studies, including Constable Phil Tobin, Jail Administrator Terry Green, County Judge Richard Evans and County Attorney Janna Lindig. He photographed many points of interest and historical places in Bandera and Pipe Creek for an assignment in the Citizenship in the Community merit badge.

Citizenship in the World merit badge got really exciting when he helped set up, take down and serve during the Celebrate Bandera Circle of Life Pow Wow on Labor Day for three years. He made friends with many of the Native American vendors, dancers and craftsmen.

Hedges has served at the Castle Lake VFD since 2007 at the annual fund raising Turkey Shoot. Scouts and neighborhood boys carry the targets out and then back in for judging of each of 50 rounds taken all day. This saves the older members a lot of legwork.

In 2011 Hedges stood station duty with family members one day a week for four hours. He learned how to operate the brush truck equipment, to refill the tank, as well as clean the trucks. He has monitored the radio and helped the family respond to several fires.

In May 2012 Joe received approval for his Eagle Scout project to provide a new well house for CLVFD made of the most durable long lasting materials he could find.

Donors included Hondo National Bank, Bandera Bank and the manager of Wells Fargo in Bandera; Bob Curtis of Honey Crunch Popcorn, Bernie and Kim Mueller and Margaret Hopkins of Seguin and El Paraiso Ranch, and Bill Wright from Country Accents Antiques, as well as many friends and relatives. A grant from the Ford Foundation funded the durable materials. Donations of materials were made by Lynwood Materials in San Antonio and Roger Schultz, fire department president. The manager of McCoy's Building Supply in Kerrville gave a generous discount on sheathing material. Bobby Stuart of Tafrica Outdoor Adventures and Rattlesnake Springs Ranch donated wild game sausage for the volunteers' lunch each work day. This helped make it a truly Hill Country experience for all.

On six different workdays in May and June 2013, Joe and his scout friends constructed the new well house for the fire department at 3801 Bear Creek Road in Pipe Creek.

Many of the CLVFD members and neighbors helped with advice, encouragement and labor. Keith Schoonmaker and Russell Wells helped teach and guide Joe and his crew of scouts in steel stud and Hardiboard construction. "That's a lot harder than it looks," said Joe at one point.

Fire Chief Charles Albright approved the project as complete on June 3 and Hedges spent 10 days doing the paperwork for the written report to the Eagle Board of Review.

On June 13, he presented his completed Eagle Scout Service Project for final review and was approved for promotion to the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

Proud parents are Bill and Shelley Hedges of Pipe Creek.