Skip to comments.Scout leads effort to plant trees at veterans cemetery
Posted on 04/01/2007 12:12:23 PM PDT by SandRat
SIERRA VISTA Andrew Cooks tree-planting project came to life Saturday, as volunteers worked at an area veterans cemetery.
Cook, 16, organized the project as part of his efforts to gain one of the highest honors in Boy Scouting, the rank of Eagle Scout. Ive been a Life Scout for three years, and this is something I needed to get done, said Cook, who came up with a project to beautify the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery. My mom always said I should go plant trees at the cemetery. But this project way exceeded my expectations.
The Buena High School 10th-grader noticed that the existing trees at the cemetery had been damaged near their bases, and after talking with officials, he decided it was time to make a change.
Cook came to the cemetery. We sanctioned and approved the project, said Joe Larson, administrator for the Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery. We have a few nonprofit organizations that come into the cemetery and do small projects. He wanted to do a major project to replace 36 trees.
It was a detailed plan to get the money raised and plant the trees. Originally, $45 per tree is what we figured. We were trying to raise enough, so we started with five-gallon trees. What happened is he raised so much money, we were able to fill two crates. We went ahead and put almost mature trees, three different kinds.
Cook raised more than $9,000 for the project, which went to purchase 24-inch trees that are held in 24-by-24-inch boxes before they are planted. He received most of the funds by contacting family members of those buried in the cemetery. Local organizations also donated money, Larson said.
Project organizers selected crepe myrtle, desert willow and Arizona ash trees for their low water use. The trees were given to volunteers at wholesale price from Desert Trees in Tucson.
It helped to get them at about half price, Cook said.
Saturday was a celebration day for Cook, accompanied by some hard work. All the trees were planted with the help of the JROTC at Buena High School and volunteers from Gardening Angels in Sierra Vista.
We couldnt have done this without the volunteers. They are such nice people, Cook said.
Larson said the design for where the trees would go came from a master landscape plan approved by the state.
Its an overwhelming and phenomenal achievement, especially for a young man who is that age. This goes way beyond car washes, he added.
As for Cook, seeing the project realized was a happy occasion.
Its very impressive, and I think its just the best project, he said.
Should he achieve the ranking, Cook will hold a position only about 5 percent of all Boy Scouts get. The award is based on the quality of a leadership service project, one organized and submitted by the scout.
HERALD/REVIEW reporter Fiona de Young can be reached at 515-4682.
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