Passion Project: A Boy Scout – and soon to be Eagle Scout – makes a difference

Bridesburg native Jimmy Davis, a member of Boy Scout Troop 120, set out to use his Eagle Scout project as an opportunity to pay homage to those in his family and others who served in the military by restoring the War Memorial on the property of the Bridesburg Recreation Center along Richmond Street in Bridesburg.

Jimmy Davis lead the efforts to restore the war memorial next to the Bridesburg Recreation Center. | Photo by Tom Beck

According to the Boy Scouts of America, the Eagle Scout Service Project is just one of the requirements necessary to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank BSA awards. For many Eagle Scouts, earning the rank is a rite of passage to adulthood, and something that stays with them for the rest of their lives. Bridesburg native Jimmy Davis, a member of Boy Scout Troop 120, set out to use his Eagle Scout project as an opportunity to pay homage to those in his family and others who served in the military by restoring the War Memorial on the property of the Bridesburg Recreation Center along Richmond Street in Bridesburg. 

“My dad was in the Air Force,” Davis told the Star at the site of the memorial. “A lot of my past generations of family were in the military, so I just wanted to give back to the people who are in the military, the people who are risking their lives for me.”

It was back in February when Davis decided on his project. He said prior to the makeover, the memorial just looked like it had seen better days.

“It looked really rundown because people just beat it up,” he said. “There was broken bricks, trash. The grass was not in. All the flowers looked like they were kicked and destroyed and run over by a bike or something. So I wanted to just start fresh on it and just restore it.”

The war memorial’s flagpole before Davis’s project.

Eventually, he got permission from John McBride, the supervisor at the Bridesburg Recreation Center, to go ahead with the project.

“He gave me full permission to do whatever I need and he gave me some tools,” Davis said. “He gave me a rake, a pick, a shovel and a wheelbarrow. Also, he gave us free range for electrical and water for the power washer.”

Davis was also able to secure a scissor lift from United Rentals in Port Richmond. The Bridesburg VFW Post across the street from the rec center donated supplies as well. 

“I spent a couple months kind of picking out flowers,” said Davis. “I was out picking out flowers, measurements, going and giving out letters for donations of anything.”

According to Jodi Brabazon, Troop 120’s assistant scoutmaster, the troop has a good relationship with the VFW, and many Eagle Scout projects within the troop are veteran related.

“Our troop works pretty closely with the American Legion and the VFW,” she said. “We do a lot with them. We just did a flag retirement ceremony right here. We are involved with the Memorial Day Parade, so we have a close relationship with both posts over here in Bridesburg.”

The war memorial’s flagpole after Davis’s project.

In the last several weeks, Brabazon said, four boys have been in the process of doing Eagle Scout projects, and three of them were veteran related. 

“The whole thing with an Eagle Scout project is that it cannot benefit Boy Scouts,” Brabazon said. “A lot of [scouts complete veteran-related projects] because there’s a lot of memorials around that need to be restored because they get [put there] but then nobody really takes care of them.”

At the end of the day, Davis just wants to make sure that all veterans “feel appreciated.”

“I just wanted to make them feel appreciated and wanted,” he said. “So doing this for them, the ones who died and didn’t get to say, ‘I love you’ to any of their family, this is their, ‘I love you’ to them.”