Connor Woodward of Auburn has been a member of the Boy Scouts for most of his 16 years. He began as a Wolf Scout when he was very small, and stayed with the scouts earning a title of Life Scout for his years of service. Conner is now attempting to earn his rank of Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting program and one that takes dedication and fortitude to reach.
Connor, if awarded, will be joining an elite group of men. Some who have earned their Eagle Scout include: Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States; Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon; Donald Rumsfeld, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and William C. DeVries, M.D., surgeon and educator who transplanted the first artificial heart.
Connor is a humble young man and doesn’t like a lot of attention or accolades for his accomplishments. However, it is hard not to pay attention to someone who has not only excelled in an organization which prides itself on public service, but who has selected honoring veterans for their project.
“I really like the scouts,” said Connor, who is part of Troop 47 out of Franklin. “I like the outdoors and all the activities that come with scouting, but it’s also because they teach you so much more about becoming a man. They teach you the importance of helping others. It is a service organization and that is very important to me,” said Connor.
To become an Eagle Scout you must earn numerous badges throughout your scouting career. You must also chose and complete an Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project. Connor chose to restore the Veteran’s Memorial at the Auburn Cemetery as his. He will be tearing down an existing monument, as it is not able to be repaired, and replacing it with a new monument; representing all five branches of the military etched into the stone. He will also be replacing the granite crosses that represent the fallen veterans and replacing a sidewalk, fence and placing sod. Connor would also like to get a flag pole and flag.
“Over the years, weather has caused damage to the crosses and many have been broken and repaired. It is my belief that the veterans and active service men and women in our community deserve a new memorial that will honor them for many years to come,” said Connor, who will be recruiting volunteers, and collecting donations to help offset the project expense.
Such a project is very expensive. The monument depicting all five branches of the military is $4,000; the 21 white granite crosses are $200 each, sod is $900; the walkway is $500; fencing is $432 and a flag pole is $450.
“The memorial is looking pretty rough. The older vets can’t get out here and do much. I respect veterans and those who fight and have fought for our country. They should be honored and I wanted the memorial to reflect that,” said Connor.
Connor’s project is under the direction of Auburn’s American Legion Post #258. The Legion in Auburn began in 1942. It currently has 34 members.
“I think this young man is great,” said Glen Wilson, Legion Commander. “The memorial sure does need work and most of us aren’t able to do it. I’d like to see more young people come out and help like this young man.”
Connor’s parents Alan and Beverly Woodward said they raised their son to be patriotic and to love his country. Connor’s grandfather, uncle and cousin have served and are serving this nation. Both parents said they are very proud of him.
After Connor finishes the project, a representative of the Boy Scouts will come from Louisville to inspect and sign off on the project. Connor hopes to be done by early summer. He is still trying to obtain funding.
“This boy is doing a great thing,” said Jerry Rust, a former Marine, veteran of Vietnam and member of Post #258. “I wish more were like him.”
Post #258 member Barry Reed said as a former boy scout himself, “You couldn’t ask for a better one (speaking of Connor). He’s a good guy.”
Connor is a sophomore at Logan County High School. He plays football and swims for the Cougars. He is also a member of the FFA.
If you are interested in donating to the project, you can make checks payable to: American Legion Post #258 Attn: Jerry Rust 306 Wilson Ave. Auburn, KY 42206.
To contact Chris Cooper, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.