EDDINGTON, Maine — Boy Scout Josh Baillargeon, 14, has decided to build a veterans memorial to earn the rank of Eagle Scout as a way to honor the men and women — including his father — who have served the U.S. in the military.
He became a Cub Scout in the first grade and has been in the Scouts ever since. His father, Scott, has been part of the U.S. Air Force for Josh’s entire life.
“I knew when I started Scouts I really wanted to so something worthwhile for the Eagle Scout project,” Josh Baillargeon said Friday. “With my dad being in the military … I wanted to show I am really thankful for the the men and women soldiers out there.”
Another big influence was the Veteran Interview Program, offered through the Cole Land Transportation Museum, which puts students in touch with military veterans to help teach the youngsters about history.
“That was definitely a factor,” Baillargeon said. “Just talking to them and hearing about their own experiences [meant more] with me being a son of a military veteran.”
His father retired as a master sergeant at the end of the year.
The Holbrook Middle School student approached the town in the fall with his idea, and town leaders gave him the thumbs-up to put the memorial on land near the town office and fire department. He hopes to finish the memorial this summer.
Brewer and Holden both have recently built veterans memorials created as Eagle Scout projects.
Baillargeon designed the Eddington memorial himself with a star at its center surrounded by an American flag, a state of Maine flag and a Prisoner of War-Missing in Action flag — with a freedom garden off to one side.
The project is expected to cost about $20,000, said his mother, Marie Baillargeon. She said a local man has provided her son with a donation of granite to help reduce the cost.
The middle school student said he’s looking for people to help with donations to get the flagpoles, all-weather flags, lights and landscaping supplies.
“I know I’m going to need people for landscaping and different stuff like that,” he said.
To kick off the project, Baillargeon will hold a spaghetti dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Eddington Elementary School. A dessert auction also will be held.
“I’m really impressed,” his mom said.