BREWER — When Mason Duplissie puts his mind to something, he gets it done.
The 15-year-old incoming sophomore at Brewer High School plays 11 instruments, sings in the chorus, and competes in mock trial, all while remaining an honor student.
A Boy Scout Troop 1 in Brewer, Duplissie is also well on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout — which is why, in a roundabout way, the playground at the Brewer Public Library on School Street now has a new covered picnic table.
Each potential Eagle Scout has to complete a project to benefit his community. Built into a 7½-foot-tall overhead shelter, the 4-foot-wide by 8-foot-long picnic table, made of cedar and pressure-treated wood, was Duplissie’s project. He finished it in early May.
Duplissie, the son of Kevin and Kay Duplissie, saw that he only had a small window of time to complete the picnic table. “He was looking at his freshman year, and how busy it had been, and was looking ahead to his sophomore year, which was also going to be busy,” explained Kevin Duplissie. “He said, ‘I don’t want to be spread so thin that I can’t do the best I can. So let’s get it done this spring and summer.’ “
Duplissie learned that Brewer Library Director Donna Rasche wanted to place a picnic table in the playground, located next to the library’s parking lot. Duplissie started planning the project last December.
“I’ve been coming to the library since I was 2,” he said. “This is a project that would be used, and that I would have a connection to.”
Duplissie discussed possible designs with Everett Bennett, a family friend who is an engineer. Once Duplissie settled on a design, he began soliciting donations, supplies, and skilled labor to make the project a reality.
“I had to coordinate all the materials,” he recalled. “There was a lot of back-and-forth meetings and waiting.”
He was successful in his efforts to build the table and shelter,, which cost around $2,000. Lowe’s of Brewer provided all of the construction materials. Maurice Godin and his crew from Lane Construction supplied the concrete for the base. Dave Cote and his crew from Brewer Public Works provided the equipment to excavate the area, as well as fill to complete the project. Dan Godin of Godin’s General Contractor Inc. volunteered his time and expertise in masonry. That’s not counting the businesses and community members that made donations and the other Boy Scouts who helped out.
Duplissie estimated that the project took 222 man hours total, including the 55 hours he worked on the project.
Rasche is pleased with the results. “I’ve been after a covered break area for the five years that we’ve been here,” she said.
The picnic table has been dedicated to the late John Goodness, a Scout leader in Brewer for more than 20 years and a longtime library patron. Goodness’ widow, Millie, attended a recent ceremony at which Duplissie attached a brass plate in memory of Goodness to the structure.
Duplissie, who entered Scouting in the fourth grade, still needs another three or four merit badges before he completes the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, something he hopes to have done by year’s end. But he got his project finished while he could, during Maine’s short summer.
Only 2 percent of those who begin Scouting ever become Eagle Scouts. It’s important to Duplissie to become one of them.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish,” he said. “It’s something that will help me greatly in my life.”