Anyone who has had contact with the Boy Scouts of America in the past 100 years is likely to have heard the statistic that only two of every 100 young men that enter the scouting program reach the level of Eagle Scout. One such local man is Ryan Walker Jr. of Amelia.
Walker submitted his appropriate paperwork to the Dan Beard Council and is awaiting the news that all his i’s were dotted and t’s were crossed. For his Eagle project Walker took on the task of building a picnic shelter for the residents of the Quehl Home on U.S. 50, part of the Clermont Adult Residential Homes. The home serves as a residents for adult clients of the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
Ryan Jr.'s uncle Charles Ruffley is a resident of the home and Walker often came to visit. He said that during conversations with the residents and the staff he found that while there was a retractable awning used for dining, the residents rarely came outside to interact with each other between meals.
"I wanted to build something that they could get out and enjoy," Walker said. "A place where they could interact and have parties or just sit outside and read or listen to CDs."
Ed and Betty Krenning donated the property for the Quehl Home to ensure that their son Michael, a client of the CCDD, had a place where he would be cared for. Walker said part of Betty Krenning's original design for the site included a picnic shelter and he wanted to make her dream a reality.
The design and funding for the $3,700 project, which also includes four picnic tables and landscaping around the flag pole and in front of the individual apartments, began two years ago. Walker began clearing the brush and weeds from the site on March 17 and worked hard through a wet spring to finish the project and submit it to the council before his 18th birthday and dedication ceremony May 22.
Donations from Home Depot covered about half the project and Sardinia Concrete donated nine yards of concrete to the project.
Walker said becoming an Eagle Scout has been a goal of his for a long time and it was a lot of hard work. He has been a member of the organization since joining cub scouts at the age of seven.
"I've enjoyed it a lot. I had some downfalls but I was able to pick myself up," Walker said. "I just told myself, 'come on man you gotta do your Eagle."
He said in addition to his self-motivation, his friends and family supported him through the whole process.
"I have to thank my sister Wendy, she's been there every step of the way," Walker said. "My friends and family really encouraged me."
The Boy Scouts of America organization is known for producing leaders in the community and Walker said his involvement has kept him on the straight and narrow path.
"Scouting has done a lot of good for me," Walker said. "If I hadn't joined scouts I probably would have been into alcohol or drugs or worse."
Walker has served in numerous leadership positions in his troop and earned his first Eagle required badge at the age of 12. He went on to earn 31 total badges, 11 more than the required 20 badges.
Walker will graduate next year from Live Oaks Vocational School with training in HVAC installation and maintenance. He said his HVAC training was of minimal use for the shelter project, but he said carpentry work is not that hard. He also plans to enter the automotive department at Live Oaks for another two years of schooling. His ultimate goal is to publish his books. He has already written 20 different novels, many of which are designed to steer teenagers away from suicide.
"I want to be a famous novelist," Walker said.
Once he has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout Walker said he could use a little time off.
"I will take about a two year break from scouting, then I want to come back and be a scout master," Walker said.
He is looking forward to working with scouts and encouraging others in their pursuit of the Eagle.
"No matter how hard you fall you have to always believe you can make it back up," Walker said.